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* * MYTH & HISTORY?;* 












THE question of the historical character of Jesus is one 
of present-day interest. It has once again been ably 
raised by Monsieur P. L. Couchoud in a small volume 
of considerable literary value and high spiritual in- 
spiration. 1 Is it true that the theory of the origins of 
Christianity sketched out in the above work is, as an- 
nounced in the programme of the collection in which 
it has appeared, "the synthesis of recent works on 
Christianity," and "the focussing that all agree in 
considering as indispensable"? For he who knows, 
even superficially, the present state of research con- 
cerning Christian origins may be permitted to doubt 
this. Has not one of M. Couchoud's collaborators 
written on the first volume of the collection : "Without 
Jesus, the history of Christianity would seem as inex- 
plicable as that of Islam without Mahomet, or of 
Pythagorianism without Pythagoras"? The intellec- 
tual loyalty of M. Couchoud, 2 the sincerity and vigour 
of his thought, the loyal effort which he has made to 
penetrate into the spirit of primitive Christianity, are 
worthy of full respect, but this homage which it is a 
pleasure to pay him does not prevent our seeing in his 
book the dream of a poet rather than the work of an 

'P. L. Couchoud, Le Myttlre dt U*u*> Paris, 1924- 
Albert Houtin, Courte kutoire du Christianisme, Parit, 1924. 



During the discussions which took place last winter 
at the Union pour la Verite certain criticisms were 
advanced and facts were cited in contradiction to his 
theses. It is no matter for surprise that these ob- 
jections should have left him unmoved, but it is sur- 
prising that in the volume he has just published he has 
not attempted to answer them. 

The problem of the historical character of Jesus is 
one of fact. It is entirely in the region of fact and by 
the historical method that we shall attempt its solution 
to decide whether modern criticism since the eighteenth 
century has entered a blind alley, and should admit its 
error, cease to see in Jesus a real personage, and in 
so doing enter upon a road other than that followed 
by Strauss, Baur, Renan, Albert and Jean Reville, 
Auguste Sabatier, Harnack, Lagrange, Loisy and 

'Being only here concerned with the question of the historical exis- 
tence of Jesus, we pass over the problem of the influence (according 
to certain authors) of the religions of India upon him and the Gospel 

Cp. R. Seydl, Das Evangehum von Jesus in semen Verhaltntssen 
nur Buddha-Sage und Buddha Lehre, Leipsig, 1882; Buddha und 
Chnstus, Breslau, 1884; Die Buddha-Leg ende und das Leben Jesu 
nach den Evangehen, Weimar, 1897. 



PREFACE * * * * v 






CENTURY . . ... 15 











BAPTIST . . 73 



ITY 78 





I. THE EPISTLES OF PAUL ........ 93 


THE CROSS .......... 95 


ITY ........... 99 


APOSTLES .......... IO 







II. GOD AND DEMONS ... . . .136 

III. SIN AND EVIL .......... 139 

IV. THE REDEMPTION ........ 144 

V. THE CHRIST AND His WORK . . . .149 


SINNER ..... . - *59 




I. THEIR CHARACTER . ........ 173 




EPISTLE OF JAMES ........ 184 

V. CONCLUSION ........... 186 
















THE EVENT . 215 










1. FOLKLORE . . 265 









TION 283 








INDEX 3*7 






BAYLE relates that one of the greatest scholars of the 
Renaissance, Laurcntius Valla, during a banquet, said 
one day to Antoinc Panormita, who was as much 
scandalized as shocked by the remark, that he had in 
his quiver weapons against the Messiah Himself. 1 Did 
he mean by this to throw doubt upon the manner in 
which tradition presented the Gospel history? Or 
did he go so far as to question the historical reality of 
the person of Jesus? 

The manner in which the conversation is related 
does not permit us to decide the point. 

Up to the eighteenth century the authority of the 
Gospels was unquestioned. Each one contented him- 
self by paraphrasing with more or less freedom the 
data of the accounts. So long as Protestants, equally 
with Catholics, continued to be dominated by the 
principle of the literal inspiration of Scripture it could 
not be otherwise. 

* Btyle, Diction**ir* historigue *t critigui, article "Vtllt.* 


The sole problem which existed was that concern- 
ing the arrangement and disposition of the parallel 
records. From the sixteenth up to the eighteenth 
century, from Osiander to Griesbach, marvelous in- 
genuity had been displayed to coordinate these in such 
a manner that, according to the very words of 
Osiander,* no word of any record should be omitted, 
that nothing foreign should be added, and that the 
order of no evangelist should be modified. 3 

If this "reconciling" was not yet a true critical study 
of the life of Jesus, it at all events, owing to the 
complexity and improbability of the hypotheses it was 
compelled to construct, helped to show that the prob- 
lem as then presented remained insoluble, and that in 
consequence it was necessary to transfer it to another 

It was during the eighteenth century that this trans- 
ference took place. This revolution, the consequences 
of which were only gradually revealed, took place 
almost simultaneously in England under the influence 
of the Deists, in France under that of Voltaire and the 
Encyclopaedists, in Germany under that of the School 
of Enlightenment (Aufklarung), which received the 
adhesion of Reimarus and Lessing. 4 

The first scientific essay on the life of Jesus is that 

*See hit Harmonic, published in Basle in 1537. 

Concerning L'Harmonistique, see M. Goguel, Introd., i. pp. 49 
et seg. 

* Concerning the beginnings of the critical history of the life of 
Jesus, see Albeit Schweitzer, Geschichte der Ltben Jesu-Forschung, 
Tubingen, 1913, pp. 13-26; also Chas. Guignebert, Le Probteme de 
Jtsus, Paris, 1914, pp. 7-21. The part played by English Deists and 
French writers, completely ignored by Schweitzer, has been well 
emphasized by Guignebert. 


published by Lessing between 1774 and 1778. It 
consists of seven fragments obtained from a volu- 
minous manuscript left by Hermann Samuel Reimarus 
(1694-1768). The author of this had for his ob- 
ject the justification of natural religion in show- 
ing that Christianity had but a feeble base of sup- 

In the opinion of Reimarus, Jesus had never thought 
of founding a new religion. His preaching, exclusively 
eschatological and terrestrial, had solely in view His 
manifestation as Messiah, the son of David. 

Jesus perished at Jerusalem at the time that He 
attempted to get Himself proclaimed King. After 
His death His disciples imagined the idea of a second 
coming of the Messiah and of a spiritual redemption 
through His death. 

Reimarus has a double merit. He from the first 
recognized the importance of eschatology in the 
thought of Jesus, and tried to discover a natural 
connection of cause and effect, not only in the history 
of Jesus, but also in that of primitive Christianity. By 
the manner in which he presents the life and the 
teaching of Jesus, Reimarus claims to undermine tra- 
ditional Christianity at the base. This intention intro- 
duces a philosophical element into his research, which 
is as much a disturbing factor as the dogmatic preju- 
dices for which Reimarus reproaches his antag- 

The same may be said of the rationalists, whose 
activity extends from about the middle of the 
eighteenth century up to about 1830. Eliminating 
every supernatural element, they aimed at portraying 
Jesus as a master of virtue whose teaching accorded 


with their own. Such is specially the character of the 
works of Herder 8 and of Paulus. 6 

The latter is particularly given to the interpretation 
of miracles. He sees in them real but perfectly natural 
facts which his contemporaries have not understood, 
and which they have considered as having the character 
of prodigies. 

If, for example, it has been believed that Jesus mul- 
tiplied the loaves, this is because, in the desert where 
the crowd had followed Him, He had given an ex- 
ample of distributing the few loaves at His own dis- 
posal, an example followed by those of His hearers 
who possessed provisions. 7 The rationalist conception 
of the life of Jesus does not differ in essentials from 
the supernatural conception. The former limits itself 
to the recitation of the facts recorded while combin- 
ing more or less happily the Synoptic and the Johannine 
statements, but instead of having perpetual recourse to 
miracle, the rationalists display an extreme ingenuity 
in giving to events a natural interpretation. 

The work of the French rationalists of the 
eighteenth century possesses a less systematic char- 
acter; its import is only the greater for that. It rests 
upon no profound work of exegesis, and does not 

Herder, Vom Erloser der Menschen nach unsfrn drei ersten Evan- 
g elicit: Vom Gottessohn der Welt Heiland nach Johannesevangeltum, 
Riga, 1797. 

Paulus, Das leben Jesu al Grundlage einer reinen Gesch. det 
Urchristentums, Heidelberg, 1828. 

*With rationalism may be connected the works of Bahrdt (Aus- 
fuhrung det Plans und Zwecks Jesu, 1784-92), Venturmi (Naturliche 
Gesck des gross fn jropketen von Nazareth, 1800-1802), which reprc- 
ent Jesus as an agent of the sect of the Essenes. Concerning these 
authors see Schweitzer (Gesch., pp. 38-48). 


end in opposing a new conception of primitive Chris- 
tianity to traditional opinion. 

In the involved and prudent manner forced upon 
him, Voltaire pointed out the small documentary value 
of Gospels "written by persons acquainted with noth- 
ing, full of contradictions and imposture" 8 the im- 
probability of the eschatological prophecies, against 
which good sense rebelled. "Let each ask himself, 1 ' he 
writes, "if he sees the possibility of pushing imposture 
and the stupidity of fanaticism farther." 9 "The whole 
history of Jesus only a fanatic or a stupid knave 
would deny it should be examined in the light of 
reason." 10 Voltaire on several occasions draws atten- 
tion to the silence of non-Christian authors concerning 
the Gospel history. 11 Obviously, Christian tradition 
does not inspire in him any confidence. However, he 
does not go so far as to maintain that it corresponds to 
no reality at all. He is aware that "certain followers 
of Bolingbroke, more ingenious than erudite," consid- 
ered themselves authorized by the obscurities and con- 
tradictions of the Gospel tradition to deny the exist- 
ence of Jesus. 12 

In so far as he is concerned, he rejects this con- 
clusion, and it appears that this is not entirely for rea- 
sons of prudence, as is sometimes the case when he 
wishes to hint at opinions which it might be dangerous 

Voltaire, Examen important de Milord Bolingbroke (Edition 
Kehl), xxxiii, pp. 44-60. Cp, Sermon des cinquant, xxxii, pp. 399'4>; 
Hist, de Vetabt. du christianisme, xxxv, pp. 274-93. 

g Id., Ex. de Milord Bolingbroke, xxxiii, p. 68. 

10 Id., Dieu et les Hommes, xxxiii, p. 271. 

* l ld. t ib., p. 272; Sermon des cinquant, xxxii, p. 401; Hist, de 
Fitabt. du christianisme, xxxv, p. 274. 

**Id. f Dieu et les Hommes, xxxiii, p. 273. 


to profess openly. Indeed, Voltaire in this case gives 
weighty reasons for setting aside the negations he 
cites. He quotes precise cases of forged genealogies, of 
stories embellished and transfigured, and as for the 
disproportion which appears to exist between the hu- 
mility of the person of Jesus and the importance of 
the movement which He inaugurated, he relates the 
case of Fox, "a very ignorant shoemaker, founder of 
the sect of Quakers." He concludes : "It is necessary, 
whilst awaiting faith, to limit oneself to drawing this 
conclusion : There did exist an obscure Jew, from the 
dregs of the people, named Jesus, who was crucified as 
a blasphemer in the time of the Emperor Tiberius, it 
being impossible to determine in which year." 18 

Voltaire has not sketched any history of the origins 
of Christianity. His effort to place the study of the 
documents within the province of reason we should 
say in modern phrase the province of history is none 
the less very remarkable. In doing so he dealt the 
traditional conception decisive blows. 

The almost entirely negative character of the criti- 
cisms of Voltaire explains the extreme conclusions 
stated at the end of the eighteenth century by Volney 
and Dupuis. In his work called Les Ruines ou Medi- 
tations sur les Revolutions des Empires (Paris 1798- 
1808) Volney conceives a vision unfolded among the 
ruins of Palmyra. The representatives of the various 

* Voltaire, Dleu et les Hommes, xxxiii, p, 279. Further to what has 
been quoted it is necessary to read L'Essai sur les maeurs (especially 
Chap, ix); Les Homelies prononchs b Londres, 1765, xxxii; Conseils 
raisonnables & M. Bergier, xxxiii ; Questions de Zapata, xxxiii ; Epitr e 
aux Remains, xxxiii, many articles in the Dictionnaire philosophique, 
zxxvii to xliii. With the ideas of Voltaire may be compared those 
of Holbach, Systeme de nature, Londres, 1770; under the name of 
Mirabeau, Le bons sens du cure Meslier, Londres, 1772. 


religions explain, each in his turn, how priests have 
deceived mankind in inventing dogmas which obscured 
the real religion, spiritual in its essence. In Volney's 
view, the entire Gospel tradition represented an astral 
myth. 14 

The views of Dupuis 18 closely resemble those of 
Volney. 18 According to him, the philosophers who 
have made a man of Jesus are not less seriously in 
error than the theologians who have made of Him a 
God: "Jesus is still less man than God. He is, like 
all the deities that men have adored, the sun ; Christian- 
ity is a solar myth. When we shall have shown," writes 
Dupuis, "that the pretended history of a God, who is 
born of a virgin in the winter solstice, who is resusci- 
tated at Easter or at the Vernal equinox, after having 
descended into hell, who brings with Him a retinue of 
twelve apostles whose chief possesses all the attributes 
of Janus a God, conqueror of the prince of darkness, 
who translates mankind into the empire of light, and 
who heals the woes of the world, is only a solar fable, 
... it will be almost as unnecessary to inquire whether 
there was a man called Christ as it is to inquire whether 
some prince is called Hercules. Provided that it be 
proven that the being consecrated by worship under 
the name of Christ is the sun, and that the miraculous 

14 Napoleon I was under the influence of Volney when, in a con- 
versation that he had with Wieland at Weimar, in 1808, he said 
it was a great question to decide whether Jesus had existed 
(Schweitzer, Gesch , p. 445)' 

IB Dupuis, L'Oriffine de tous Its cultes ou la religion universelle, 
Paris, anno III (1794) ; Abregi de V engine de tous les cultet, Paris, 
anno VII (1798). These two works have been reprinted several 


"It was during a conversation with Dupuis that Volney con- 
ceived the project of his book. 


element in the legend or the poem has this star for its 
object, then it will appear proven that the Christians 
are but sun worshippers, and that their priests have the 
same religion as those of Peru, whose throats they 
have cut." 1T 

The year 1835 was that of the publication of the 
first Life of Jesus, by Strauss, 18 and it is a date of 
primary importance in the history of evangelical criti- 
cism. Strauss attacks the problem with the absolute 
indifference to dogma which he owed to the philosophy 
of Hegel. The fundamental idea of religion in his 
view is that of the "Gottmenschlichkeit," and it is of 
small import whether this idea has been realized in 
phenomena or not. It is the idea which is important, 
and not history. The first Gospel accounts, in Strauss's 
opinion, have not been drawn up from an historical 
point of view. They do not relate the event as these 
took place, but express certain ideas by means of 
images and symbols, or to employ the exact term that 
Strauss makes use of, by myths. What is important in 
the notion of the myth is not the idea of unreality, 
but that of a symbolical expression of a higher truth. 
The mythical explanation seems to Strauss the syn- 
thesis which resolves the antithesis between the nat- 
uralist and the supernatural explanations of the life 
of Jesus. The 'Life of Jesus of Strauss contains an- 
other novelty: it put forward as had never been done 

IT Dupuis, Abregi, p. 251. The views of Dupuis have been wittily 
criticized by J. B. Peres, librarian of the town of Agen, in a curious 
booklet in which he applied the method of Dupuis to the History of 
Napoleon to prove the latter had never existed. 

i Strauss, Das Leben Jesu, Tubingen, 1835* 1836, 1840. Concern- 
ing Strauss see Schweitzer, Gesch., p. 69; also A. Levy, David Fred- 
crick Strauss, Parii, 1910; Guigncbert, pp. xxii seq. 


hitherto the problem of the relation between the 
fourth Gospel and the Synoptics. 

So long as one was content, as before Strauss, to 
combine the statements of the four evangelists, Strauss 
considers that the two traditions are irreconcilable with 
each other, and he solves the problem offered by their 
coexistence in a manner unfavorable to the fourth 

The weak point of Strauss's construction was that it 
was not built upon a sufficiently thorough study of the 
sources. This omission was filled up simultaneously by 
the works of F. C. Baur and his disciples and by those 
of a series of critics who combated the theses of the 
Tubingen school, such as Weisse, Wilke, Reuss, Albert 
Reville, H. J. Holtzmann, Bernhard Weiss. 19 

The outcome of the discussions which took place on 
the evangelical problem was a theory whose essential 
points are that at the base of the evangelical literature 
are two principal sources : The Gospel of Mark, either 
under its present form or; one slightly different (proto- 
Mark), and a collection of discourses (the Logia), 20 
the fourth evangelist being considered by the majority 
of critics as a secondary form of the tradition, domi- 
nated by dogmatic and allegorical ideas. 

The life of Jesus which would be the result of all 
this critical work has never been written; it is, so to 
speak, involved in the work of H. J. Holtzmann. 21 

To the school of Baur belong the works of Bruno 

i Concerning these works see Maurice Goguel, Introd., i, p. 67, 
and ii, p. 27. 
* Usually referred to in England and Germany by the letter Q 

" Schweitzer, Gctch.> pp. 124-40. 


Bauer," who in 1841 supported the priority of the 
Gospel of Mark. He explained the peculiarities of the 
other records by what he termed the creative power of 
the evangelists, and clearly showed the part played in 
the evolution of tradition by dogmatic and theological 
notions. But he did not stop there, and maintained 
that the forces which had guided the transformation 
of primitive tradition explained also the genesis of 
Mark's record. In Bauer's view the primitive evangel- 
ist was a creator, and his work is the product of the 
faith of the early Christians. Christianity was born 
at the beginning of the second century from the meet- 
ing of the different currents of thought originating in 
Judea, Greece and Rome. The person of Jesus was 
merely a literary fiction. Jesus is the product, not the 
creator, of Christianity. 

Bruno Bauer remained a solitary. His ideas had 
but little influence. When, at a later period, analogous 
ideas to his were expressed, either by the radical Dutch 
school or by certain modern mythologists, it was not 
under his influence, and it was only after their expres- 
sion that the authors of certain theories believed to be 
new found out that in Bruno Bauer they had a pioneer. 

The publication of the Vie de Jesus by Renan in 
1863 marks a no less important date than that of 
Strauss's work on the history of criticism. This is not 
because) the work was particularly original. Almost its 
entire substance was borrowed from the German 

2(2 Bruno Bauer, Knttk des Evangelischen Cesch. des Johannes, Bre- 
men, 1840; Kritik der Evangclischen Gtsch. der Synopttker, Leipzig, 
1841-42; Knttk der Evangehen, Berlin, 1850-51; Christus und die 
Casarcn, Berlin 1877. Concerning Bruno Bauer see M. Kcgel, Bruno 
Batier und seine Thcorie uber die Entstehung des Christentums, 1908. 


criticism, but although the work of Strauss had been 
translated, that of Renan was the first French work 
on the question. It attracted all the more attention in 
that it was addressed to the general public. It thus 
produced an enormous effect. 28 

Possessing in reality but little originality, the Vie 
de Jesus of Renan is, from the literary point of view, 
a first-class work. 24 

Renan makes of Jesus a kind of gentle dreamer who 
walks through the midst of the Galilean countryside 
smiling at life, and as though surprised at the drama in 
which He takes part. When he disappears, the passion 
of a deluded woman gives to the world a risen God. 

The work of Renan was followed in the last forty 
years of the nineteenth century by a large number of 
other "Lives," from Keim to Oskar Holtzmann." 
They all aim at presenting the results of literary 
criticism, often while combining, as Renan had already 
done, the facts of the fourth evangelist with those of 
the Synoptics. The point of view as to miracles varies, 
but in almost all there arc found attempts at the 
psychological explanation of the Mcssiahship of Jesus 
and of the manner in which He had concealed it from 

2 3 See Schweitzer (Gcsch , pp 647-51) for a list of eighty-five booki 
and pamphlets published in 1863-64 concerning Kenan's work. 

24 There are, however, in Kenan's work certain erron in taite. 
"There is no work," writes Schweitzer, "which swarms with so many 
and such grave errors in taste as the Vie de Jtsus. It is Christian art 
in the worst sense of the word an art of waxen figures. The gentle 
Jesus, the pretty Maries, the refined Galileans who make up the 
retinue of the charming carpenter have been taken from the windows 
of a shop in the Place St. Sulpice." See also opinion of Mtrcel 
Prout on the style of the work "A tort of Lovely Helen of 
Christianity" (Revue de Paris, Nov. 15, 1920). 

Schweitzer, Gesch., pp. I93-***- 


the people and revealed it to His disciples. The 
principal effort made is the explanation of the scene 
at Caesarea Philippi (Mark viii. 27-33). 

In many of these "Lives" there is an effort to di- 
minish the importance of the eschatological element, 
with the preoccupation more or less conscious of 
discovering a Christ who shall not be too unfamiliar 
for the modern man and at the same time an ideal 
representative of true religion, such as is conceived 
by Protestantism of the liberal school. 

In the neighborhood of 1890 a new period in the 
history of the "Lives 11 of Jesus begins. 

Discussion was concentrated principally on the 
Messianic consciousness and eschatology two prob- 
lems intimately connected. 

Already had Reimarus emphasized the eschatolog- 
ical views of Jesus, and Strauss had accorded them a 
certain importance. But in a general way these writers 
had scarcely been followed, and the aim was to give 
to the eschatological declarations of Jesus an inter- 
pretation which eliminated, while spiritualizing them. 
Attention was brought back again to this problem ** 
by the progress of the study of religions in the world 
of antiquity and of contemporary Judaism (with 
Jesus), in which eschatological ideas occupy a central 
position; also by the success of the school of Ritschl, 
who assigned capital importance to the notion of the 
Church more or less explicitly identified with the 
idea of the Kingdom of God preached by Jesus, The 
examination of the Biblical base of this doctrine led 

M Sometimes these were simply declared unauthentic, particularly 
by Colani, Jisus Christ ft let croytnccs mesnanigufs dt ton timpi, 
Strasbourg, 1864. 


Johannes Weiss, disciple and son-in-law of Ritschl, to 
state conclusions of great import in a leading work 
'dealing with the preaching of Jesus concerning the 
Kingdom of God. 27 

In his view Jesus preached a Kingdom of God 
plainly and exclusively eschatological; He considered 
Himself as the King of this Kingdom that is to say, 
the Messiah. The thesis of Weiss was repeated and 
pushed to its farthest consequences by Albert Schweit- 

zer. 28 

If the exegesis of the end of the nineteenth century 
has thrown light on the importance of the eschato- 
logical and Messianic element in primitive Christianity, 
.agreement, however, was far from being complete on 
,the interpretation of the facts noted. A whole group 
of scholars threw doubt on a notion of the Messiah- 
'ship of Jesus being a primitive element of Christianity. 
*This conception was formulated by William Wrede in 
ra very acute work upon the Gospel of Mark. 29 In his 
view the oldest Gospel tradition suffers from a funda- 
mental contradiction. It presents as Messianic a his- 
tory which really was not Messianic. The contradic- 
tion is concealed and resolved imperfectly it is true 
by the theory of secrecy observed and imposed by 
Jesus. Wrede takes pains to show that the Messianic 
secret must not be interpreted as a kind of pedagogic 
proceeding employed by Jesus to prevent His followers 

27 Johannes Weiss, Die Predigt Jesu vom Reich* Gottes, Gottingen, 

2 8 A. Schweitzer, Das Leidens- und Messiasoeheimniss, Tubingen, 
Leipzig, 1901; Gesch.> pp. 39O-443J " psychiatrische Beurttilung 
Jesu, Tubingen, 1913. 

29 W. Wrede, Das Messiasgeheimniss In den Evangelien* Gottingen, 
1901; Paulus, Halle, 1904. 


throwing themselves into a movement of political 
Messianism which He would have been unable to ap- 
prove, and whose control would have eluded Him. 
He sees in the Messianic secret a literary device, 
thanks to which the conceptions and beliefs of the 
Christian community have been inserted into the Gos- 
pel history. This theory has been discussed in the 
many studies devoted at the beginning of the nine- 
teenth century to the problem of the relations between 
Paul and Jesus. 80 

The problem discussed is this: Who is the real 
founder of Christianity? Is it Jesus Himself, or is it 
not the apostle Paul, who introduced into the Church 
the notions of Messiahship and redemption foreign 
to the thought of Jesus and the faith of His first dis- 
ciples ? 

The theories of Wrede did not, doubtless, go so far 
as to deny the historical reality of the person of Jesus ; 
they end, nevertheless, in rendering it practically un- 
necessary, and they reduce the part played by Him to 
that of the occasional cause of the development of 
Christianity. 81 From the notion of a Jesus having 
been, if one may so put it, only the pretext for the 
birth of Christianity to the thesis of His nonhistorical 
character there is but a shade of difference. We are 
thus brought to examine the modern forms of the myth 

80 Concerning this literature see Schweitzer, Gesch. der Pauhni- 
ichcn Forschunff, 1911, pp. 119-40. 

81 Such appears to be the point of view reached by M. Loisy. 
Under the influence of the sociological school, many critics in recent 
years insist upon the part played by the community, and specially 
of worship, in the development of Christianity and of the evangelical 
tradition. As characteristic of this tendency we cite the work of 
Bertram, Die Leidemgcschichte Jew und der Christiukult, Gottingen, 


concept formerly stated by Volney, Dupuis and Bruno 

In the last twenty years of the nineteenth century the 
myth concept is only represented by an anonymous 
work published in London in 1887 under the title of 
Antiqua Mater and by some criticisms of the radical 
Dutch school, 82 which is, however, as a general rule, 
more occupied with the apostle Paul and his epistles 
than with Jesus and the Gospels. 

Pierson, Matthes, Naber, Van Loon, and for some 
time Loman, have decided against the historicity of 
Jesus. The reasons which determined their conclusions 
are principally of the negative order. These authors 
insist on the uncertainty of the Gospel tradition, the 
absence of all external testimony, and thus consider as 
justified not only a skepticism regarding the possibility 
of reaching a positive conception of the life of Jesus, 
but also of His existence. 

The fact that they have failed to give from their 
point of view a coherent explanation of the origins of 
Christianity and of the formation of the Gospel tradi- 
tion explains the slight influence that their theories 
have exercised. 



That there existed in the indifference which the 
theories of the Dutch school met with something more 
than a conspiracy of silence is proved by the volume 

81 On this school, see a book, somewhat one-sided, by G. Van den 
Bergh van Eysinga, Die h oil and is c he radikale Kritik dn Neuen 
Testaments, Jena, 19x2. 


of discussion since the opening of the twentieth cen- 
tury upon the historical character of Jesus. 

According to J. M. Robertson, 88 religions develop 
by a regular law, continually producing new gods, who 
are substituted for or added to the old ones, some- 
times presenting themselves as sons of the latter. Jew- 
ish Monotheism thus gave birth to the Messianic cult. 
The adoration of Jesus is only the reappearance of an 
old religion which existed in Israel at the time when 
Abraham, Isaac, Moses and Joshua were still deities. 
Among these cults the most important was that of 
Joshua, the solar-deity of Ephraim, worshiped under 
the symbols of the lamb and the ram. This god Joshua 
is not unrelated to the Syrian Adonis and the Baby- 
lonian Thammuz. The new cult of Jesus-Joshua spe- 
cially developed after the destruction of the Temple. 

It created a whole legendary tradition, whose prin- 
cipal elements have a distinctly mythical character. 
It is possible, however, that in these developments 
there may have been included certain historical souve- 
nirs relating particularly to John the Baptist and to a 
certain Jesus Ben-Pandera, put to death under Alex- 
ander Janneus (106-79 B.C.) Albert Kalthoff 8i con- 

Robertson, Christianity and Mythology, London, 1900, 1910; Short 
History of Christianity* 1902; Pagan Chnsts, Studies in Comparative 
Theology, 1902-11; The Jesus Problem Restatement of the Myth 
Theory, 1917. Concerning Robertson, see Schweitzer (Gesch.), 
Guignebert (p. 88). Some ideas of Robertson resemble the astral 
theories developed by Niemojewski (Gott Jesu im Lichte fremder, 
etc., Muncben, 1910; Das wervoende Dogma vom Leben Jesu, Jena, 
1910) ; and by C. P. Fuhrmann (Der Astralmythus von Chnstus, 
1912). The idea of a pre-Christian cult of Jesus-Joshua is also ad- 
mitted by Holland (De Evangelische Jozua Met Evangelien), Leiden, 
2907-10. Cp. also W. Erbt, Von Jerusalem nach Rome, Untersuchun- 
gen nur Geschichte des Urchristentums, Leipzig, 1912. 

"Kalthoff, Das Christusproblem, Grundhnien *u finer Sotial* 


aiders Christianity to be a social phenomenon. The 
new religion was' born when the proletarian masses, op- 
pressed in the Roman world, came into contact with 
Jewish Messianic aspirations. The history of Jesus 
is only that of the idea of the Christ it reflects the 
development of the community. 
- Jensen 86 concedes that there may be an historical 
element at the base of the Gospel tradition, but this 
fact is without import. Whatever the history of the 
man Jesus may have been, the Christ of the Faith was 
born of the transformation of the Babylonian myth of 
Gilgamesch. Like Jesus, Gilgamesch is a person partly 
human, partly divine ; his history, in which Jensen finds 
an astral character, is that of the quest of immor- 
tality. 86 

William Benjamin Smith, 87 mathematical teacher at 
New Orleans, sets out with a triple observation. It is 
inconceivable that one simple personality could have 
inspired such an important religious movement as 
Christianity. In the second place, there are in the writ- 

theologie, Leipzig, 1902-3 ; Die Entstehung des Christentums, Leipzig, 
1904; Was wissen wtr von Jesus f Berlin, 1904- Concerning Kal- 
thoff see Schweitzer (Gesch , p. 345) and Guignebert, p. 78. 

P. Jensen, Das Gilgamesch-Epos in der Weltlitteratur, Stras- 
bourg, 1906; Moses, Jesus, Paulus, Drei Vananten des Babylontschen 
Gottmenschen Gilgamesch Eine Anklage wider die Theologie ein 
Appel an die Laien, Frankfurt-a-M, 1906-9; Hat der Jesus der 
Evangehen wirklich gelebtf On Jensen see Schweitzer (Gesch., p. 
466) and Guignebert, p 85. 

w H. Zimmern (Zum Streit un den Christusmythe, Das Babylonische 
Material in semen Hauptpunkten dargestellt, 1910) admits, in addi- 
tion to the influence of Gilgamesch, that of the cults of Marduk, 
Mithra and Thammuz. 

87 W. B. Smith, Der vorchristliche Jesus (Giessen, 1906); Ecc* 
Deus; The pre-Christian Jesus (American Journal of Theology. 
1911). Resembling the ideas of W. B. Smith are thoie of G. T. 
Sadler, Behind the New Testament, London, 1921. 


ings of the apostle Paul and the first Christian 
apologists but few allusions to the public activity of 
Jesus. In the third place, no man could have been so 
easily deified as modern theologians suppose. 

In this mode Smith is led to adopt the idea of a 
divine pre-Christian Jesus. It is this person who was 
worshiped by the Naassene Gnostics, known to Hip- 
polytus, and the Jewish sect of Nazarenes (or Nazo- 
renes), known to Epiphanius (see later Chap. Ill, 
Section II). The name of this sect is not derived from 
the village of Nazareth, whose existence is very doubt- 
ful. In the name is found the root NSR, which ex- 
presses the idea of protection and salvation. In sup- 
port of his theory of a pre-Christian Jesus, Smith cites 
a series of other proofs, such as the conjuration "by the 
god of the Hebrews, Jesus," in the magic papyrus of 
Paris, which, in truth, only dates from the fourth cen- 
tury after Jesus Christ ; or, again, the case of Apollos 
and the disciples of John the Baptist at Ephesus (Acts 
xviii. 24-28 and xix. 1-7), who know the "things con- 
cerning Jesus" before their meeting with Paul. The 
magician Elymas, surnamed Bar-Jesus (Acts xiii. 6- 
12) and Simon (Acts viii. 9-13) were worshipers of 
this pre-Christian Jesus. His name (the Hellenized 
form of the name of Joshua) signifies deliverance, and 
is also related to the root of the Greek verb meaning 
"to heal." The history of Jesus had been created by 
the worshipers of the pre-Christian Jesus; it en- 
shrines the history of the primitive community. 

The theories of W. B. Smith were welcomed with 
enthusiasm by Arthur Drews, 88 who, in a work of 

"A. Drews, Die Christusmythe, Jena, 1909-"; *>*' Pelruslegende, 
prankfurt, 19x0; . Das Markuwangelium alt Zcugnis gegin di* 


religious philosophy published in 1906, maintained 
that the cult of Jesus was a relic of fetishism from 
which it was necessary to purge religion. Smith's sys- 
tem seemed to him adapted to bring about the religious 
reform he desired. He therefore adopted the theory of 
a pre-Christian Jesus, while combining it with an astral 
system, and adding to the product certain conceptions 
of his own devising, in particular a conjunction un- 
expected, to say the least between the Christ as lamb 
of God (Agnus Dei) and the Vedic lamb. 

The theories, among which we have been sum- 
marizing the most characteristic, have in Germany, 
during the early years of the twentieth century, been 
made the object of an intense propaganda. The con- 
troversy was not only carried on in scientific publica- 
tions, but in a large number of tracts designed for the 
general public, in popular lectures, sometimes as public 
debates, in the presence of huge audiences. 89 

The negative theses called forth a multitude of 
replies. 40 

Geschichthchkeit Jew, Jena; Die Entstehung des Chnstentums 
ausdem Gnostizismus. Concerning Drews see Schweitzer (Gesch , p. 
483), Guignebert (p 107). 

89 See particularly the public debates in Berlin in 1910, published 
by the German Monist Union and translated into French by A. Lip- 
man, Jesus a-t-il existef (Pans, 1912). 

Among all this literature we shall only cite: Bousset, Was wissen 
vair von Jesuf\ L. C Pillion, ^Existence histonque de Jesus et le 
ratlonalisme contemporam\ Julicher, Hat Jesus gelebt* H. von Soden, 
Hat Jesus gelebtf 1910; Wemel, 1st das "liberate" Jesus-bild wider- 
legtt 1910; Joh. Weiss, Jesus von Nazareth, Mythus oder Geschichtef 
1910; Dunkmann, Der historische Jesus, der mythologische Christus, 
1910; S. J. Case, Historicity of Jesus, 1912, Guignebert, Le Problem* 
de 3e$us t 1914 The method employed by Pe>es against Dupuis (sec 
Section I) has been turned against the modern mythologists by J. 
Naumann (see Die Bismarcksmythe) and by an anonymous writer to 
show that Martin Luther never existed (Beweis dast Docktor M. 
Luther nit existieri hat). 


In France, if one passes over certain controversial- 
ists whose work has more resemblance to an historical 
romance than to history, 41 the thesis of nonhistoricity 
has been supported, with certain reservations, by M. 
Salomon Reinach, and in its entirety by M. Couchoud 
and M. Stahl. 

M. Salomon Reinach 42 does not formally give his 
verdict for the negative thesis, owing to the testimony 
of the Pauline epistles, which he is unable to consider 
as unauthentic. But while admitting that Jesus lived, 
Reinach insists upon three objections to the historicity 
of the Passion. The first is on the ground of the si- 
lence of non-Christian authors particularly the ab- 
sence of a report of Pontius Pilate to the Emperor 
Tiberius upon the condemnation and execution of the 
Nazarene. The second argument is that the history of 
the Passion fulfils certain prophecies, particularly that 
of verse 17 of Psa, xxii. The last argument is based 

41 The most prolific of these authors is Arthur Hculhard (le Men- 
songe Chretien, Jesus Christ n'a pas cxiste, Pans, 1908-10, n vol ; la 
Ver'Ue Bar abbas, le Mensonge Jesus; Tu est Petrus I'histoire et la 
legende, Paris, 1913-14). Heulhard sums up his theory in the two 
following theses: 

"i. It was the Jew known aa John the Baptist who said he was 
Christ and Bar Abba (son of the father), and he was certainly not 

"2. It was Barabbas who, condemned to death for his public 
crimes such as assassination, robbery and treason was crucified at 
Guol Golta by Pilate. The evangelists are a mystification invented 
more than a century after the execution of this scoundrel. It is Bar- 
abbas that the Church worships under the name of Jesus, an imagi- 
nary personage substituted by the evangelists for the crucified, and 
invented by them to impart the hue of innocence to the individual by 
whose invention they exploited lucratively the remission of sins by 

"Salomon Reinach, Orpheus, 1909; Le Verset 17 du Psaume xxii; 
A Propot de la cunositi de Tibere; Bossuet et Vargument des pro- 
phetifs; Simon de Cyrene; Une source bibltque du Docetume. 


upon the Docetist heresy that is, the opinion which 
reduced the historical and human life of Jesus to a 
pure appearance. A very interesting attempt has been 
made by M. Couchoud* 8 to present the Pauline 
testimony as concerned with a Christ purely ideal, and 
so eliminate the difficulty which prevented M. Salomon 
Reinach formally supporting the thesis of nonhis- 
toricity of Jesus. M. Couchoud differs essentially from 
the mythologists in that he refuses to make Jesus a 
mythical being, but a spiritual being in fact, he pos- 
sesses a comprehension of the spiritual value of Chris- 
tianity and of the religious influence of belief in Jesus 
which distinguishes him radically from such theoreti- 
cians as Drews, Smith, or Robertson. 

In M. Couchoud's opinion, the method in which his- 
torians, from Renan to Loisy, attempt to understand 
the history of Jesus and the genesis of Christianity is 
liable to two main difficulties. The first is that it is in- 
conceivable that in less than a single generation a man 
should be deified, and this within the territory of Jew- 
ish monotheism. The second is that historically Jesus 
escapes us. The testimony of Josephus is an established 
forgery. The Talmud contains nothing about Jesus 
which does not come from Christian tradition. Out of 

Couchoud, L'Enigme de Jtsus (translated into English by Mrs. 
G. Whale) ; Enigma of Jesus, with introduction by Sir J. G. Fraser; 
Le Mysore de Jesus (Mercure de France). 

The first article in the Mercure de France by M. Couchoud was dis- 
cussed by me. Under the pretext that it was not a review of religious 
history, the Mercure refused to insert an article in which I discussed 
the second article of M. Couchoud. On the other hand, M. Couchoud 
has explained his views in a series of informal discussions at the 
Unto pour la Virile (Jan -April, 1924). The development of the 
objections made by me on these occasions will be found in the pres- 
ent Tolume. 


three of the oldest pagan testimonies there is one 
that of Suetonius which may refer to an unknown 
Jewish agitator known as Chrestos. The other two 
those of Pliny and Tacitus establish only the exist- 
ence of a Christian movement, but as regards its ori- 
gins, they give only information borrowed from the 
Christians themselves. 

As for the evangelists, M. Couchoud points out that 
these are not histories, but outlines of the good news ; 
in other words, they are writings of an essentially 
mystical character. They have two sources: the in- 
spired writings and the visions. The Gospel of Mark, 
the oldest, is the apocalypse of a man without elo- 
quence; it is the creation of imaginative exegesis, not 
an historical document; it is a free commentary made 
up of Biblical texts and spiritual memoirs, on which the 
Christian faith is fused. One must not ask from such 
a book humble and commonplace historical informa- 
tion. Beyond the evangelists it is requisite to go back 
to the oldest form of the Christian faith, such as the 
epistles of Paul bring to our knowledge. The Christi- 
anity of Paul is neither the deification nor the cult of a 
man. His Christ is but a new form of the old God of 
Israel, Yahveh, as Messiah. When, after the fall of 
Jerusalem, the populace entered the Church, a kind of 
transformation took place in the Christian faith. The 
mystery of Jesus became fixed in record, and passed 
from the lyrical to the narrative form. The ineffable 
epic of Paul became an artificial legend. The bold in- 
vention of popular preachers did its work; but this 
secondary form of Christianity has but disguised the 
real nature of the Gospel. 

In reality Jesus is not a man progressively deified; 


He is a God progressively humanized. He is not a 
founder of religion, but a new God. 

In his article in 1924, after emphasizing the very 
special character of the problem of Jesus, M. Couch- 
oud applies himself to define his theory. "At the origin 
of Christianity there is, if I am right," he says, "not 
a personal biography, but a collective mystical experi- 
ence, sustaining a divine history mystically revealed." * 4 
At the beginning Jesus was not a man, but a Spirit 
which manifested itself. 

Men believed in this Spirit, because of its manifesta- 
tions, and because it was supposed that its existence and 
history could be discovered and read in Isaiah and the 
Psalms. And M. Couchoud aims to show that it is in- 
deed to a spiritual being that the Pauline testimony 
refers. As to the origin of the tradition concerning 
the words of Jesus, the Pauline epistles would enable 
one to solve this problem in reading them. It was 
from the 'Lord, Paul says emphatically, that he re- 
ceived the account he gives of the last repast of Jesus. 

Exegesis of prophetic texts, visions and revelations, 
projection into the past, and the attribution to Jesus of 
the facts of apostolic history in which the activity of 
the Spirit had been discerned such are the sources 
from which the Gospel tradition has sprung. 

Jesus must, then, have been at the beginning the 
God of a mystery. At the time of Paul neither the 
God nor the mystery had become historical. They 
were to become so in the period to follow the creative 
age, when it would be no longer possible to understand 
the high spirituality which had inspired the primitive 
faith, and when the celestial drama upon which Chris- 

" See Couchoud, Le Mysore de Mtus, p. 1x7. 


tianity of the first generation had lived had been trans- 
ported to earth. 

The two articles published by M. Couchoud in the 
Mercurc de France have been almost literally repro- 
duced, under the title Le Mystere de Jesus, in the third 
volume of the collection, Christianity, published under 
his direction. The objections which were offered in this 
review on the part of the Rev. Father de Grandmaison 
or myself, as well as those advanced in the public dis- 
cussions (Union de la Verite), have been completely 
ignored by M. Couchoud; they have not persuaded 
him to modify his views in the slightest degree; he 
has not even considered it advisable to state in what 
respect he thought them ill-founded. He contented 
himself by adding three chapters to his previous ex- 
position. In the first he attempts to demonstrate that 
the study of the Apocalypse and the non-Pauline 
epistles of the New Testament confirm the conclusion 
to which his study of the Pauline epistles had led him; 
in the second he returns to what he had already said 
concerning the Gospel tradition; and in the last he 
summarizes the conclusions of his research. 

We shall call attention also to an original but very 
paradoxical work by Monsieur R. Stahl, 45 which has 
the somewhat enigmatical title The Document 70. 
This "document 70" is the fragment of the Jewish 
Apocalypse which Wellhausen has disentangled from 
Chap, xii of the Johannine Apocalypse. In this is 
found the idea of a Messiah transported to heaven im- 
mediately after His birth. 

While Wellhausen sees in the Apocalypse of the 

< 5 R. Stahl, Le Document 70, Paris and Strasbourg, 1923. On this 
book see the obierrationj of M. Alfaric, Rcwt d'htstoirt, 1904. 


year 70 a Jewish fragment made use of by the Chris- 
tian author of our Apocalypse, M. Stahl thinks he can 
recognize in it the oldest Christian document one 
might almost call it the birth certificate of Christianity. 
The Apocalyptic Messiah referred to must have 
been first presented as an actual individual, in a sym- 
bolic manner, in the fourth Gospel, and later in a more 
material way in the Synoptic Gospels, which would be 
younger than the Gospel of John. The letters of Paul 
are all unauthentic. Paul is not, however, a completely 
imaginary individual, but the real person, whose por- 
trait has been somewhat modified, has been preserved 
for us in the book of Acts. He was merely a Pharisee 
missionary who had some quarrels with the Sadducees 
concerning the resurrection of the dead. M. Stahl has 
tried to sketch the development of Christianity as he 
represents it. It might be summarized in the following 
series : Document 70 Apocalypse Fourth Gospel 
Synoptics. He has no explanation of the first manifesta- 
tions of Christianity in Rome, and particularly of the 
persecution by Nero. To get rid of this it would be 
necessary to overthrow the accepted ideas on Latin 
literature as well as those which appear the best estab- 
lished upon the books of the New Testament. 


The review which we have presented to the princi- 
pal theories, which (while utilizing the critical work 
of the nineteenth century) have during the last twenty 
years opposed the traditional acceptance of the his- 
toricity of Jesus, gives occasion to make several ob- 
servations. The difficulty of the problem consists not 


only in the complexity and obscurity of its data, but 
also in the fact that in a certain sense it is a unique 
problem without analogy in the whole history of re- 
ligion. M. Couchoud has much insisted on this fact. 46 
"The problem of Jesus," he writes, "is no ordinary his- 
torical difficulty. The case of Jesus is unique. For the 
historian, unique cases are enigmas. 1 ' But history, 
even in contemplating less exceptional cases, is never- 
theless not exclusively a science of the particular. The 
wish to remove from its jurisdiction everything which 
does not present the character of collective fact is 
simply to prohibit it dealing with great personalities, 
and to exclude from its domain a Julius Caesar, a Ma- 
homet, a Luther, and a Napoleon, and thus to suppress 
one of the most important factors on human evolution. 
So also, when it is claimed that the problem of Jesus 
is no historical problem, it is nevertheless (and here 
M. Couchoud is no exception) by the methods of his- 
torical criticism that it is attempted to solve it. 

It is important, we think, to distinguish carefully the 
observation of facts from their interpretation. If in 
this second part of historical research there is more or 
less a philosophical element, it is not the same thing for 
the first part. 

To carry the work out properly it is necessary to 
make an effort to reach impartiality, to free oneself 
from all preconceived ideas, and to see the texts as they 
are, to extract from them what they contain, and not 
what one would like them to say. 

But is perfect objectivity possible in a question 
whose solution cannot fail to have a very direct bear- 

See Couchoud, Le Mysthe de Jiiut and Mercure d* Franc* 
(March 1924). 


ing upon our philosophical and religious concepts? 
The objection is a grave one; it does not seem to us 
decisive if only we consent to admit as the first premise 
of every religious philosophy that it is not the facts 
which must be adapted to our theories, but rather that 
it is our theories which must, if necessary, be corrected 
and rectified to put them in harmony with the facts. 

It is in the religious domain more than in any other 
that the principle proclaimed by Paul holds most truly. 
"We can do nothing contrary to the truth; we have no 
strength except in the truth" (2 Cor. xiii. 8). This 
principle was also proclaimed by one of the most emi- 
nent representatives of German theology, Herrmann, 
at the beginning of this century, who delighted to 
repeat: "Die erste Pflicht der Religion ist Wahrhaf- 
tigkeit." It is a question of fact which is before us: 
Are there historical proofs of value for the actual 
existence of Jesus? We shall therefore leave on one 
side the discussion of the more or less complicated 
theories offered to explain (other than by the existence 
and activity of Jesus) the appearance and development 
of Christianity. It would be easy to show how much 
there enters of the conjectural, of superficial re- 
semblances, of debatable interpretation into the sys- 
tems of the Drews, the Robertsons, the W. B. Smiths, 
the Couchouds, or the Stahls. We shall not linger on 
the way to do it. We shall not discuss theories which 
to a greater or less extent are inspired by considera- 
tions depending neither on history nor on criticism, but 
upon religious philosophy. 47 

"This has been well noted by Guignebert (p. 23). Let us recall 
only, for example, the case which Drews has pointed out (p. 25* 
French edition). There is something similar with M. Couchoud, 


If there are sufficient proofs of the historical exist- 
ence of Jesus, it is above all things necessary that the 
theory offered of the origin of Christianity should ac- 
commodate itself to them. And even if there were no 
proofs, it might still happen that the explanation of 
the genesis of Christianity as due to the work and 
teaching of the prophet of Nazareth would be less 
conjectural than the theories which bring in the epic 
of Gilgamesch, the astral system, the pre-Christian 
cult of Joshua-Jesus, a collective mental representation, 
or the "document 70." 

who, pointing out how the concept formed about Jesus was trans- 
formed according to the particular epoch, foresees that this evolu- 
tion will continue and that in "about 1940 Jesus in His entirety will 
have passed from the historical stage to that of collective mental 
representations" (Le Mysore de JSsus) Have we not here a theory 
upon the essence of religious facts? The same author supposes that 
if Christianity had really arisen from the deification of an historical 
personage it would be something very mean, a religion of a low 
type, on the commonplace level of the Imperial Roman Cult, in any 
case quite inferior to Judaism and I si ami sm, which have taken great 
care that neither Moses nor Mahomet should be taken for gods. For 
him this is an objection to the historicity of Jesus, at any rate, "be- 
cause he has a vague idea that Christianity is not there" We can 
hardly fail to recognize in this an a priori opinion calculated to 
hinder historical inquiry. 



THE most ancient nonChristian testimony concerning 
j esus i s or rather would be, if it were authentic 
that of Josephus. In his works, as we read them, 
Jesus is mentioned twice, 2 in the eighteenth and the 
twentieth book of Jewish Antiquities. 

The first of these reads thus: u At this time Jesus 
appeared a wise man, if He can be called man. For 
He accomplished marvelous things, was the Master of 
those who received with joy the truth, and led away 
many Jews and also many Greeks. He was the Christ. 
Upon the denunciation of the leaders of our nation, 
Pilate condemned Him to the cross; but those who had 
loved Him from the first ceased not to revere Him, 
for He appeared to them on the third day, raised again 
from the dead, as had announced the divine prophets, 
as well as a thousand other marvelous things concern- 
ing Him. There still exists to-day the sect which, after 
Him, received the name of 'Christians.' " 8 

X K. Linck, De antigutssimls qua ad Jesum Natarenum spectant 
tistimomis, Giessen, 1913. 

a The best edition of Josephus' works is that of Niese (Berlin, 
1885.95) in six volumes. A French translation is appearing under 
the direction of Th. Reinach (Pans, 1900). Concerning Josephus see 
Schurer (Gtsch., i, pp. 74'rf)> Wlth ver y complete bibliography. 

8 Ant. Jud., xviii, pp. 63-64. 

To the bibliography given by Schurer must be added the follow- 
ing: Burkitt (Jotfphus and Chnst), Harnack (Der judischt Geschickt- 



This text is given by three known manuscripts, of 
which none, it must be admitted, goes farther back than 
the eleventh century. Eusebius (//., i, p. 1 1> and Dem. 
ev.) knew of it. But Origen seems to ignore it, for 
upon two occasions he quotes the praise given by 
Josephus to James, while remarking that nevertheless 
Josephus did not admit Jesus to be the Christ (Comm. 
in Matt. x. t c. 17, also Contra Celsius, i, 47). 

From the point of view of external criticism, the 
passage is therefore strongly suspected, at least, to be 
an interpolation/ 

The arguments from internal criticism appear to be 
still more convincing. If Josephus had said of Jesus, 
"if He can be called a man" and "He was the Christ," 
if he had spoken of resurrection, of miracles, the 
fulfillment of prophecies, he would have been a 

From the sixteenth century the authenticity of this 
passage has been questioned, specially by Osiander; 

tchreiber Josephus und Jesus Chnstus), Smith (De Katholieck, as re- 
gards authenticity), Batiffol (Orpheus et I'Evangile), K. Liock (op. 
ctt.)> Norden (Josephus und Tacitus uber Jesus Chnstus und Mess- 
tanische Prophetie), Seitz (Das Christusteugniss des Josephus 
Flavins), Jacoby (Jesus bet Josephus), Ed Meyer (Vrsprung und 
Anfange des Christentums, for authenticity), Goetz (Die Urspung- 
liche Fassung des Stelle Ant), Corssen (Die Zeugnisse des Tacitus 
und Pseudo-Josephus uber Christus), Goethals (Melanges d' his to ire 
chretienne), Brunt (St. u. Kr , unauthentic text, but substituted for 
a text in which Josephus spoke of Jesus), R. Laqueur (Josephus, 
passage added afterwards by Josephus himself). 

4 The text of Josephus seems to have existed under another form, 
for in an Apocryphal dialogue concerning a religious discussion at 
the court of Sassanides we read: "Josephus spoke of the Christ as a 
just and good man manifested by Divine Grace by means of signs 
and miracles, and who did good to many." (Bratke, Das soaenannt* 
Religions getprach am Hofe der Saisaniden). 


one feels a certain difficulty in understanding how such 
a critic as Harnack has been able to defend it. 5 

The passage that we read betrays with evidence a 
Christian hand, but has not the interpolator con- 
fined himself to retouching that which Josephus had 
written? 6 And if this hypothesis be accepted, is it 
possible to reconstruct the original text? Or is one 
simply to maintain that he spoke of Jesus, which in 
itself would be a fact of importance? Schurer has 
observed that if the expressions and phrases whose 
origin is certainly Christian are put aside, the re- 
mainder is very insignificant. But the interpolator 
could easily have mutilated the primitive passage at 
the same time as he exaggerated it. Norden remarks 
that the account of Pilate's government in the eight- 
eenth book of the Antiquities consists of a series of 
episodes presented as troubles which arose among 
the Jews, the word 0opu(3oc (noise, clamor, disturb- 
ance) being the leit motif of the account. 

The general plan is interrupted by paragraphs 63 
and 64, which speak of Jesus. If these are removed, 
paragraphs 62 and 65 are in perfect connection with 
each other. The bond between them is broken by what 
is said to Jesus. Norden therefore considers this frag- 
ment to be quite unauthentic. But Corssen replies 
against this that the general plan of the account is 

Among the most recent defenders of authenticity we may cite 
Bole (Flavius Josephus uber Christus und die Christen in den judi- 
tchen altertumern), Kneller (Flavius Josephus uber Christus, Stimmen 
aus Maria Laack), Burkitt, Harnack, etc. 

6 The thesis of unauthenticity is admitted, besides authors quoted, 
by Schurer, Niese (De testimonio chnstiano quod est apud 
Josephum) ; that of interpolation by Reinach (Josephe sur Mtus), etc. 


artificial. The events related are not all, in the strict 
sense of the word, troubles. There is, for instance, in 
paragraph 62 a reference to an incident which hap- 
pened in Rome and in which the Jews were not im- 
plicated, and in paragraph 65 it is not a question of 
troubles among the Jews, but of measures directed 
against them. It might therefore be supposed, if the 
original passage had contained anything about Jesus, 
that His history would equally have been presented as 
that of an agitation. The reasoning which Corssen 
uses against Norden's theory seems to us decisive, but 
still it only establishes a mere possibility. Is it possible 
to go farther? In the retouching of a passage there 
very often appear certain peculiarities of the primitive 
form. According to Corssen this is the case in the 
passage we are concerned with. The expression "re- 
ceive with pleasure" is a formula that Josephus is very 
fond of, and which he uses no less than seven times 
in the eighteenth book of the Antiquities. The words, 
"the chief among us" are also quite his style. It 
would be possible to say as much of the epithet u wise 
man," as applied to Jesus; it would be difficult to 
understand from the pen of a Christian, while it 
accords well with the tendency of Josephus to class 
as philosophical schools such Jewish movements, essen- 
tially religious, as those of the Pharisees, Sadducecs 
and Essenes. The idea of the Greeks allying them- 
selves with Jesus is also very characteristic. It may be 
that the Christian editor of our passage took pains to 
imitate the style of Josephus ; it is neverthless difficult 
to suppose that he succeeded so well in it. The passage 
might therefore be the retouching of one written by 


Josephus himself. This conclusion seems confirmed 
by the fact that in the passage in the twentieth book, 
where the death of James is referred to, the latter is 
presented as "the brother of Jesus, surnamed the 
Christ," which would seem to indicate that this Jesus 
was a personage already known to the readers, of 
whom therefore Josephus must have made mention. 

Is it possible to reconstruct, by surmise, the original 
passage of Josephus? Theodore Reinach thinks it is, 
and, eliminating that coming from a Christian hand, 
he restores the following passage: u At this time there 
appeared Jesus, called Christ, an able man (for He 
was a worker of miracles) who preached to those eager 
for novelties, and He led away many Jews and also 
many Greeks. Albeit that Pilate upon the denuncia- 
tion of the leaders among us, condemned Him to the 
cross, those who had loved Him from the beginning 
(or those whom He had deceived from the beginning) 
ceased not to be attached to Him, and to-day there still 
exists the sect which from Him had taken the name of 
Christians." Here is nothing more than a conjecture, 
for if it is easy to recognize in the actual text that 
which comes from a Christian hand, it is not so easy 
to guess at what the portions suppressed by the inter- 
polator might have contained. 

In the twentieth book of the Antiquities (paragraph 
200) there is another mention of Jesus. It is found 
in the account of the death of James whom the high 
priest Annas caused to be tried, and put to death by 
stoning, during the period between the death of Festus 
and the arrival of his successor, Albinus. At this time 
Roman authority seemed to be somewhat lax at Jeru- 


salem. "Annas," says the text, "called the Sanhedrin 
together, and summoned to appear before it the 
brother of Jesus, surnamed Christ, and certain others 
under the charge of illegality, and caused them to be 
stoned to death." Eusebius cites this passage (H. 9 
II, xxiii, pars. 21-24), but Origen, who on three occa- 
sions 7 establishes (following Josephus) a relation 
between the death of James and the destruction of the 
Temple, has read the passage in a text retouched by a 

Schurer (Gesch., i, p. 581) concludes from this that 
the existing text is also to be suspected of interpolation. 
This conclusion goes too far. 

Admitting that this passage is among those that the 
Christians might have been tempted to exaggerate, it 
does not at all follow that they did it. Besides, between 
the expression "Jesus, surnamed Christ," and the cate- 
gorical declaration "He was the Christ" of the eight- 
eenth book there is a great difference. The words 
may then be authentic. 8 Mgr. Batiffol 9 has believed 
it possible to deduce from this passage an important 
conclusion. The accusation brought against James and 
his associates is couched in ambiguous terms which may 
just as well refer to the violation of Roman laws as 
to that of the Jewish Law. In order to admit that 
the ground of the charge against James was revolt 
against Roman law, it would be necessary to attribute 
to the high priest and the Sanhedrin a scrupulous loy- 
alty to the Roman power which seems very far from 
likely to have been the case. On this hypothesis it 

* Origen, Comm. in Matt. 17 and Contra Cehum, i, 47; ii, 13. 

This, for instance. Is the opinion of K. Linck. 
Batiffol, Orpheus et I'Evangile. 


would be difficult to understand why (as Joscphus 
says) they were accused of this before the Governor 
by the Jews. 10 

What, asks Mgr. Batiffol, would constitute a revolt 
against religion if it were not the Christianity of the 
accused? This argument is in conflict with a difficulty, 
for tradition presents James as a very strict observer 
of the "Law." 

The text of Josephus seems to us too concise to allow 
us to maintain that there could have been no other 
motive of opposition between the high priest and 
James other than Christianity. 11 

Even if it be recognized that the silence of Josephus 
concerning Jesus and Christianity is not so complete 
as was formerly said, the extremely brief character 
of the allusions found in his work (under even the 
most favorable hypothesis) is none the less striking. 
How explain it, seeing* that the work of Josephus deals 

10 Mgr. Batiffol adds that the punishment inflicted stoning to 
death presupposes a crime of a religious character. This is not 
convincing, for it does not appear that blasphemers alone were stoned 
to death. 

11 A Slavonic verson of the De Bella Judatco contains various ad- 
ditions to the Greek text in which Jesus is referred to. It will suffice 
to establish its character of secondary importance to summarize what 
is said of the death of Jesus in the first portion: Jesus remains on 
the Mount of Olives and refuses to humble Himself as He is ordered 
by Pilate and the Roman authorities. The Jews accuse Him then of 
fomenting a conspiracy, in the presence of the Procurator. The latter, 
after having massacred many innocent persons, seizes Jesus, ^tnd 
finding that He is no malefactor sets Him free, after having obtained 
from Him the healing of his wife The Jews, jealous of this success, 
give thirty pieces of silver to Pilate, and so obtain the right to 
crucify Jesus. It is difficult to understand how the first editor, A. 
Berendts (lie Zeugnisse von Chnsto im Slwvischem De Belh Judatco 
des Josephus) has been able to find in such accounts the authentic ele- 
ments that Josephui made away with in translating his work from 
Aramaic into Greek. 


precisely with the environment and the epoch in which 
Christianity was born and began to develop? Is it 
not surprising that an author who spoke of the Phari- 
sees, the Sadducees, the Essenes and the Samaritans 
has said nothing, or has said so little, about the Chris- 
tians? So complete a silence is perhaps more embar- 
rassing for the mythologists than for their opponents. 
By what right, indeed, should it be permissible to con- 
clude from it that Jesus never existed, and not per- 
missible to deny that a Christian movement existed in 
Palestine prior to the year 70? Since Josephus has 
been silent not only concerning Jesus, but also concern- 
ing Christianity, how is his silence to be explained? 
Uniquely by his character and the object of his work. 
The writer desired to flatter the Romans and gain their 
good graces. To do this he expunged from the picture 
he drew everything likely to offend or excite their 
apprehension. Thus it is that he has scarcely at all 
spoken of the Messianic cult which nevertheless con- 
stituted the center of Jewish thought in the first cen- 
tury. That he did so was because this cult was a 
menace to Rome, for the Kingdom of the Messiah 
could only be built upon the ruins of the Empire. 

Josephus portrays John the Baptist as a moral 
preacher, and passes by unnoticed everything which 
presented him as the prophet of the Messiah, the one 
to announce the baptism of fire (Antiquities, xviii. pp. 
116-19). The preaching of repentance is thus de- 
prived by him of everything lending its support and 
giving it any signification. The little that Josephus 
preserves of Messianism is used by him to flatter basely 
authority in connecting the Messianic prophecies with 


Vespasian. 12 It was not possible to speak of Chris- 
tianity while amputating it from Messianism. Jo- 
sephus therefore maintained silence on the subject. 

It might besides have been determined by another 
reason. At the time he wrote and at least since the 
persecution by Nero -Christianity was separated from 
Judaism. Josephus could thus consider it as outside 
the history that he wished to write. 18 Doubtless the 
same thing was not the case as regards Palestine Chris- 
tianity, but Josephus could not have spoken of it with- 
out exposing Judaism to the accusation of a compromis- 
ing solidarity with a dangerous movement, odious to 
the governing class, and to which, it has been supposed, 
he had contributed to draw the attention of the court 
of Nero. 14 The silence of Josephus is not therefore 
the silence of ignorance; it is the silence of prudence 
and fear a silence actuated by interest. Far from 
proving that Jesus and the Christian movement did not 
exist in Palestine in the first century, it only proves 
that Josephus did not wish, by speaking of it, to com- 
promise himself, and with himself the Jewish people. 15 

The reasons which explain the silence or the dis- 
cretion of Josephus account also for the fact that, 
according! to Photius (Codex 13), Justus of Tiberiade 
(author of a chronicle and a history of the Jewish war, 
written at the same time and in the same spirit as the 

i* Df Bella Jud., vi, pp. 310-14. The same thing is found in Taci- 
tus (History, v., p. 13), and in Suetonius (Vesp., p. 4)* who have prob- 
ably borrowed in this matter from Josephus. 

18 Ed. Meyer, Ursprung und Anf i, p 2x1. 

"So Corssen thinks (Z.N.T.JT., xv, p. 135)* who P ints out **?* 
Josephut was in Rome at the time of the fire, and that he was in 
relation with the empress Poppcea. 

"Joh. Weiss, Jesus von Nazareth, Mythus oder Gcschichte, p. 89. 


work of Josephus) has not mentioned Jesus or Chris- 
tianity either. 

As regards Philo, astonishment is sometimes ex- 
pressed that in his works no mention is found of the 
Gospel. But it suffices to remember that he died shortly 
after the year 4O, 16 and there is nothing to prove that 
Christianity had reached Alexandria before this date. 
That the Talmud and other Jewish sources 17 say 
nothing about Jesus which is not the distortion of 
Christian tradition is sufficiently explained by the date 
of these documents and the fact that those who 
compiled them were governed by entirely polemical 
considerations. Their sole object was to combat 
the Christians; they were not interested in writing 
the history of their religion. The first mention of the 
Christians in this Jewish literature is the curse con- 
tained in the "Schemone Esre," the daily prayer of the 
Jews (at close of the first century), "May the Naza- 
renes and the Minim perish I" 


The first Latin text to mention the name of Christ 
is dated AJ>. 1 10. It is the letter from Pliny to Trajan 
concerning the conduct to be observed toward the 

iPhiIo wag one of an embassy sent to Rome by the Jews of 
Alexandria in A.D.4Q, and he was then very old. He speaks of him- 
self as an old man (Leg. ad Gaium, par. 28). The account of the 
embassy was written immediately after. 

* 7 Concerning this literature see H. Laible (Jesus Christus im 
Thalmud), an English edition published in Cambridge (1893), with 
additions of Dalman and Streeter (Jesus Christ in the Talmud, etc.). 
See also R. T. Herford (Christianity in Talmud), A. Meyer (Juui im 
Talmud), H. L. Stracfc (Jesus dit Hdrettker, Leipzig, 1910). 


Christians. 18 He recounts his methods of action, 
punishing those for obstinacy, who, after two or three 
interrogations, persisted in the confession of Christi- 
anity, releasing those, who denounced as being Chris- 
tians, denied the charge, and who in the Governor's 
presence invoked the gods, offered wine and incense 
before the statue of the emperor, and cursed the name 
of Christ. The case of those who confessed they were 
formerly Christians, but declared they were so no 
longer, caused Pliny some embarrassment; he had 
questioned them and compared their replies with in- 
formation obtained by putting two deaconesses to the 
torture. He had only discovered, he declares, a coarse 
and exaggerated superstition. From what he states 
concerning Christian practices one point maybe noted: 
The Christians were in the habit of meeting upon a cer- 
tain day and singing a hymn (carmen dicere), or, in 
other words, invoking Christ as a God. 

This text is evidence of the cult of Christ, but it 
does not say explicitly whether He was conceived to be 
a personage having lived on earth or a being of en- 
tirely spiritual nature. The expression "Christo quasi 
Deo" appears to mean, however, that for Pliny, 
Christ was not a God like unto others. Was not the 
fact that He had lived on earth, that which dis- 
tinguished Him from others? The testimony of 
Tacitus in the Annales, written between 115 and 117, 

* 8 X, p. 96. The authenticity of this text has often been challenged 
since Semler. It is, however, generally admitted. See E. C. Babut 
(Remarques sur Us deux lettres de Pline et de Trajan relatives aux 
Chretiens de Bithyme), Linck (pp 33-60), Rcmach (Orpheus, p. 37), 
Couchoud (Le Mystere de Jtsus). There may be in Pliny's letter some 
Christian interpolations (cp. Guignebert, Tertullien, pp. 77 et seq.), 
M. Goguel (L'Eucharistie des onaens a Justin Martyr, pp. 259 ft 
stq.). Prom our present point of view we may neglect them. 


is more explicit : "To destroy the rumor [which accused 
him as guilty of the burning of Rome] Nero invented 
some culprits, and inflicted on them the most excru- 
ciating punishments; they were those who, detested for 
their infamies, were called by the populace, Christians. 
The author of this name, Christ, had under the reign 
of Tiberius been condemned to death by the Procur- 
ator Pontius Pilate. This execrable superstition, held 
in check for a time, broke out anew, not only in 
Judea, the birthplace of this evil, but also in the city 
Jn which all atrocities congregate and flourish." lfl 

There are two remarks in this passage whose authen- 
ticity is certain. 20 The first concerns the burning of 
Rome and the persecution of the Christians; the second 
concerns the Christ. 21 The first reflects the point of 
view of the contemporaries of Tacitus. It is a 
question of the hatred and contempt excited by the 
Christians and the infamies with which they were re- 
proached, whilst it is precisely the accusation launched 
by Nero against them which seems to have unchained 
this hatred and contempt. The second must originate 
in some documentary source, since it contains no such 
word as "dicunt" or "ferunt" which would authorize 
us to suppose that Tacitus is only relating gossip. 
There is in this remark a characteristic idea namely, 

**Annales, xv, 44. Sec further certain studies cited respecting 
Josephus, Linck, pp. 61-103; also Batiffol (Orpheus et I'Evangilt, pp. 

* It is admitted without any reserve by S. Reinach (Orpheus). Ho- 
chart, after discovering in this passage an interpolation (Etudes au 
sujet de la persecution des Chretiens sous Neron), maintains that the 
entire work of Tacitus was an invention of the fifteenth century 
(De I 'authenticity des annales et des htstoires de Tacite). Hochart'i 
theory has only been admitted by Drews (Die Christusmythe). 

^Corssen, Z.N.T.JT., xiv, 1913, p. 135 (Zntschrift fur die Ntui- 
testamenltche fFissenschaft). 


that Christianity had been crushed out by the death of 
Christ, and had only reappeared about the year 64, 
simultaneously in Rome and in Judea. This resurrec- 
tion of the execrable superstition in Judea can only be 
understood if we suppose that Tacitus does not make 
any distinction between the two manifestations of Mes- 
sianism Christianity and Judaism. 

The words "not only in Judea" would imply, then, 
the sudden outbreak of nationalism which caused the 
revolt and the Jewish war. 22 

We can here form an idea of the character of the 
source: it was not Christian, since it presumed an 
eclipse of Christianity after the death of Jesus; 21 
neither was it Jewish, for no Jewish document would 
have called Jesus "Christ," nor would it have pre- 
sented Judaism as solidary with Christianity.** 

The hypothesis which asserts that Tacitus could 
have consulted official documents preserved in the im- 
perial archives can only be mentioned to be passed by, 
seeing that these archives were secret, and there is 
nothing to authorize our supposing that any excep- 

"Corssen, Z.N T W. t xiv, 1913, p 123 

28 In this argument the hypothesis of Meyer (who thinks the de- 
tails made use of by Tacitus relate to a form of confession of the 
Christian faith) is invalidated. Meyer thinks that Tacitus was 
obliged to occupy himself with the Christians during his government 
of Asia, and that he had made an inquiry into the origin of their 
movement. Meyer thinks he can recognize an affinity between the 
phrase of Tacitus, "per procuratorem Ponttum Pilatum supplicto ad- 
fectus" and that found in Timothy, "He bore witness before Pontius 
Pilate" He also supposes that Tacitus became acquainted with the 
Christian faith by his examination of those who were persecuted. 
Besides what has already been said, it must be replied against 
Meyer's opinion that on one side it is merely a question of a con- 
demnation pronounced by the Procurator, and on the other side the 
profession of faith of Jesus. The two things are far from being 

24 These two points have been well emphasized by BatiffoL 


tion to a general rule was made in the historian's favor. 
The dependence of Tacitus upon Josephus, as sup- 
posed by Harnack, has generally been discarded, par- 
ticularly by Goetz, Norden and Corssen. 

The fact that in the account which he gives of the 
Jewish war, Tacitus has utilized the De Bello Judaico 
of Josephus 2B is hardly conclusive, because if it were 
difficult for Tacitus to ignore so important a document 
as Josephus' account of the war, there is no reason at 
all to suppose that Tacitus, for whom Judaism was 
an object of the most profound contempt, had read the 
Antiquities of the Jews, and that he had sought therein 
any information to complete his account of the burning 
of Rome. Between the text of Tacitus and the pas- 
sages of Josephus there are, besides, appreciable dif- 
ferences. The text of Josephus states that Jesus' death 
was not the cause of a cessation of faith among his 
disciples; Tacitus, on the contrary, supposes that 
Christianity temporarily disappeared after the death 
of its founder. The judgment of Josephus upon 
Christianity is upon the whole a favorable one; that 
of Tacitus was one of supreme contempt. Finally, 
Tacitus appears to accept the word Christ as the name 
of the founder of the sect, while Josephus is aware 
that this founder was called Jesus, and that the word 
Christ designates the dignity to which he laid claim. 

Goetz 26 has surmised that Tacitus obtained his in- 
formation concerning Christianity from his friend, 
Pliny the Younger. The two writers certainly con- 
template Christianity from the same point of view 
that of the police but this fact is characteristic of all 

** History, v, 13, dependi upon De Bella Jud., vi, 310-14. 
Goetz, Z.N.TW., xir, 1913* P* *9S- 


the Romans. On the other hand, between Pliny and 
Tacitus there is an important difference. If they are 
in agreement in only seeing in Christianity a super- 
stition, the first considers it an innocent one, the second 
calls it execrable, and appears to endorse the infamous 
accusations brought against the Christians. Mgr. 
Batiffol, 27 dwelling on the fact that Tacitus made use 
of the history of Pliny the Elder, has surmised that 
he borrowed from it his notes about the Christians. 
That is a supposition which in its nature one is unable 
to verify. But one fact is certain, and that is, Tacitus 
knew of a document, which was neither Jewish nor 
Christian, which connected Christianity with the Christ 
crucified by Pontius Pilate. The importance of this 
observation does not require to be emphasized. 

In his Life of Nero (Chap, xvi) Suetonius mentions 
the persecution of the Christians, but he says nothing 
concerning their teachings. In the Life of Claudius 
(xxv, p. 4) he refers in passing to the expulsion of the 
Jews from Rome, to which the book of Acts also makes 
allusion (xviii. 2) : "Judaeos, impulsore Chresto assidue 
tumultuantes, Roma expulit" (He expelled from Rome 
the Jews, who under the impulsion of Christ did not 
cease to make tumult). 28 

Is one obliged to see in "Chrestos" 29 an unknown 
Jewish agitator, as do certain critics, 80 and thence con- 
clude that the text does not relate to the Christians? 

7 Batiffol, Orpheus et VEvangile, p. 46. 

28 Here again Hochart has in a very arbitrary way suspected a 
Christian interpolation. This thesis is indefensible, for no Christian 
would ever have expressed himself as Suetonius does. 

29 Linck gives a list of more than eighty inscriptions at Rome in 
which the name of Chrestos is found. 

Lmck, also Reinach and Couchoud, consider this interpretation 


Or, stressing the fact that at Rome the Christians seem 
to have been called "Chresitanoi" and not "Chris- 
tianoi," 81 must we suppose that it is Christ who is 
referred to, and that it was the disputes concerning 
Him which stirred up the Jewry of Rome and provoked 
the action of Claudius? The fact that Suetonius men- 
tions Chrestos as a known personage without joining 
to his name quodam or aliquo 82 is favorable to the 
second interpretation, and it is also the one generally 
accepted. 88 The text of Suetonius tells us only that 
Christianity had reached Rome under the reign of 
Claudius, and that it was considered to have connection 
with a personage of the name of Chrestos. But Sue- 
tonius could have believed that Chrestos had come to 
Rome in the time of Claudius, 84 and this proves how 
slightly the Romans interested themselves at the be- 
ginning of the second century in the traditions which 
the Christians invoked. 

What the Roman authors say about Jesus and Chris- 
tianity amounts to very little indeed. Only the testi- 
mony of Tacitus is plainly incompatible with the theory 
of a Christ entirely ideal. The rarity of the details 
furnished by the Latin authors is, however, striking. 
One is aware how prudent one must be in handling the 

"Tacitus, Annalcs, v (Codex Mediceus), has the form "Chrcs- 
tianos " In the three passages only in the New Testament where the 
word "Christians" is found (Acts xi 26, xxvi 28; I Pet. iv, 16), the 
first copy of the Sinaiticus has Xpijarwot. The MS. (B) Vaticanui 
hat Xpaoiwoe*. Compare with Justin (I Apol. 4), Tertullian (Apol. 
3). The form "Chrestianoi" is frequent in the inscriptions. Com- 
pare with Linck. 

82 Batiffol, Orpheus et l'Evangile> p. 43* 

"Meyer, Ursprung und Anf , iii, 4*3- 

**PreuBchen (Chresto impuliore) supposed that some connection 
existed between the details given by Suetonius and the tradition that 
Jesus died under Claudius* (See Chap. X, Section III.) 


"argument from silence" (ex silentio). To make it 
convincing it requires two conditions which are not 
satisfied in the case before us. In the first place the 
silence must be complete, which it is not, without taking 
any account of what the portion not preserved of con- 
temporary literature might contain. In the second 
place the silence must have a real signification ; in other 
words, the authors considered must have been obliged 
to mention, had they known them, the facts of which 
they say nothing. Now this second condition has not 
been satisfied either. Pliny, Tacitus and Suetonius 
agree in seeing in Christianity only a contemptible 
superstition. It only interested them just so far as it 
was a cause of social disturbance. They only mention 
it to relate the measures directed against it, not to 
inquire into its origin, and still less to write the history 
of its real or supposed founder. 

The importance that Christianity eventually reached 
leads many modern minds to commit a strange error in 
perspective. Because the birth of Christianity appears 
to them as the most pregnant fact in the whole of first- 
century history, they find it difficult to understand that 
the ancients did not see things from the same point of 
view, and only paid any attention to Christianity at 
the happening of certain events which had no essential 
importance for its development. 


There is no reason to suppose that there has ever 
existed in Rome any official document which refers 
to the condemnation of Jesus by Pontius Pilate." 

"Concerning an examination of documents and archives which, 


It is true that in two passages in his Apology, 
addressed (toward the middle of the second century) 
to Antoninus the Pious, to Marcus Aurelius, to Lucius 
Verus, to the Senate and all the Roman people, Justin 
Martyr invokes (to confirm the account he gives of 
the Passion and miracles of Jesus) the "Acts of Pon- 
tius Pilate" (I Apol., xxxv, 48). 

Tertullian also in his Apologeticum, dating from 
197, mentions a report that Pontius Pilate, already a 
Christian in his inner conscience ("jam pro sua con- 
scientia christianus"), had sent to Tiberius. 

Eusebius, who cites Chapter v of the Apologeticum, 
does not appear to know the document of which he 
speaks, while in another passage he refers to the "Acts 
of Pilate'' as forged by the pagans as an arm against 
Christianity. There has existed a whole literature of 
"Acts of Pilate," which (particularly in the form it 
has assumed in the Gospel of Nicodemus) enjoyed 
great favor in the Middle Ages. 86 Critics are in agree- 
ment in considering this literature, in the form in which 
we know it, to be of a later age, and in any case not 
older than the fifth century, but it is not certain that 
its primitive element does not go farther back, since 
Epiphanius (fourth century) knew of the "Acta Pilati" 

(Bar., 50-51). 

The narratives for which Justin and Tertullian in- 
voke the authority of the "Acta Pilati," or of a report 
sent by the Procurator to the Emperor, rest on evan- 

according to S. Reinach, was made at Antioch in the time of Ignatius, 
see later (Chap IV). 

Concerning this literature consult R. A. Lipsius (Die Pilatusak- 
ten), Harnack (Gesch. des altchnsthchen Litt. bis Eusebius), Barden- 
hewer (Gesch. des Altkirchhchen Litt), A. Stuelken (Pilatusakten) 
in Hennecke (Handbuch Neutestamentischen Apokryphen). 


gelical tradition, and merely accentuate its tendency 
to portray Pilate as well disposed toward Jesus and 
convinced of His innocence. 87 The documents desig- 
nated by them would therefore be of Christian editing, 
but is it certain that they were acquainted with them 
or had done anything more than suppose their ex- 
istence ? 

Justin would not have expressed himself other than 
he does if he had merely heard the "Acts of Pilate" 
spoken of or had presumed their existence. 

Many writers have therefore considered that these 
"Acts" did not exist in his time, 88 and the fact that in 
another passage of the Apology (I, xxiv, p. 2) he 
quotes in the same way the census registers of Quirin- 
ius confirms this opinion. It has been objected that 
Justin cited the "Acts" not only to support his narra- 
tion of the Passion, but also to support the account he 
gives of the miracles of Jesus. He must, therefore, 
it is thought, have known this document, or at any 
rate something about its contents. 89 But the first 
hypothesis is excluded by the somewhat vague way in 
which the "Acts" are cited ; the second is not without 
some difficulties. If such an important document had 
existed, how is it that Justin should only have known it 
by hearsay? It is doubtless by mere conjecture that 
he supposed the "Acta Pilati" must have narrated both 
the trial and the career of Jesus. 

Certain authors, however, following H. von Schu- 

w Concerning this tendency see M. Goguel, Les Chretiens ft VEm- 
ptre Romam a VEpoque du N.T.; Jutfs et domains dans I'htstoire de 
la Passion. 

99 This is the opinion of Lipsius, Harnack, Bardenhewer, and also 
of Mgr. Batiffol. 

sestuelken (Handbuch). 


bcrt, 40 have thought that a trace of the primary 
elements of the "Acta Pilati" was to be found prior 
to Justin's period. 

They rest their case upon the fact that the Gospel of 
Peter and Justin (I ApoL, xxxv) state that, to mock 
Him, Jesus was made to seat Himself in a chair, and 
invited to act as a Judge. 41 Seeing that the hypothesis 
of a direct connection between the Gospel of Peter and 
Justin encounters certain difficulties, it has been sup- 
posed that both were dependent upon a common source. 
But even if this were so, there is nothing to prove that 
this source was anything other than a mere extra-canon- 
ical tradition. 

As regards Tertullian, Harnack considers that he 
has simply made use of what he found in Justin, and 
that it is his work which suggested the composition 
Df the letter from Pilate to the Emperor which is found 
in Chapters xl-xlii of the Acts of Peter and Paul. 42 
The last words of this letter reveal, indeed, its polem- 
ical character, and show that it must have been com- 
piled to combat the pagan Acts spoken of by Eusebius. 

Nevertheless, Justin and Tertullian do not invoke 
the testimony of Pilate in reference to the same facts, 
and the document is presented by Justin as the acts, 
and by Tertullian as a letter of Pilate to the Emperor. 
Tertullian, for his part, only makes one allusion, some- 
what vague, to the document, and he does not know it 

* H. von Schubert, pit ^Composition det pseudopetrinischen Evan- 

41 There is no trace of any men episode in the canonical Gospels 
unless, perhaps, in John xix. 13, if there is given to the verb a transi- 
tive sense. But even thus the scene would have quite another char- 
acter than in Justin and the Gospel of Peter. 

**ActaApQitolorum Apocrypha (edition Lipsius and Bonnet, 1891). 


at first-hand. At the most he has heard It spoken of, 
if he does not altogether guess at its existence. 

As neither Origen nor Eusebius make any allusion 
to the "Acts of Pilate," 48 it may be considered that 
the work did not exist in their time. 

What is the interpretation of this absence of testi- 
mony from Pilate concerning the punishment of Jesus? 

For M. Salomon Reinach it is decisive : 

"There was no official report, while there ought to 
have been one," he says. "The conclusion which is 
forced upon one is assuredly not favorable to the his- 
toricity of the Passion." 44 

So radical a conclusion appears to us unwarranted. 
From the fact that spurious "Acta Pilati" have been 
fabricated as well by Christians as by their opponents, 
it does not follow that an authentic work never existed. 
The conclusion is simply that these "Acts," if they 
existed, were not at the disposal of those whose inter- 
est it was to consult them. We know that the archives 
of the emperors were not accessible to the Senate. 
Tacitus himself, notwithstanding his relations with 
Neva and Trajan, seems to have been unable to obtain 
access to them. 45 Still less reason existed to permit 
access to them by private persons, and Christian apolo- 
gists could make no examination of them. If their 
opponents had been more favored and authorized to 
make researches which remained fruitless, they would 

* The silence of these two men is important owing to their vast 
erudition. That of Eusebius is particularly significant. There are 
at least three passages in his Ecclesiastical History where it was 
difficult to avoid mention of the "Acta Pilati" 4iad he known the 
work. These are: 5, 9 (concerning Pilate), ii, a (quoting Tertuliian'i 
Apology), ix. 5-7 (quoting the pagan "Acta Pilati"), 

44 S. Reinach) A propos de la curiositt de Tibere. 

* 8 Ph. Fabia, Li* Sources de Tacite, p. 3** 


have made a point about it in their polemic. Because 
an official document has not been produced, no one is 
authorized to conclude that it could not have existed. 
But, even if it were proved that no report was made 
by Pilate to Tiberius, what would be the significance 
of this fact? Justin, who had presumed the existence 
of a report, says M. Salomon Reinach, was in a better 
position than we are to estimate the obligations of a 
Procurator. But the death of Jesus was in his eyes 
an event of such capital importance that it was difficult 
for him to see that for Pilate it may only have been 
an incident without importance. Besides, Justin is 
influenced by the tendency to make of Pilate a witness 
favorable to Jesus and opposed to the Jews. Every- 
thing that we know concerning Pilate shows him to us 
as a cruel and unscrupulous man, for whom the lives 
of those under his jurisdiction had but little impor- 
tance; he had no hesitation in sending to execution 
whomsoever resisted him or became a pretext for agi- 
tation. Jesus was certainly not the sole victim of his 
procedure of summary justice. To condemn to death 
was for him merely an act of administrative routine. 
Is it to be supposed that in each particular case he 
considered it necessary to send a report to the Em- 
peror, and in so doing furnish arms to his enemies by 
allowing them to accuse him of cruelty and injustice ? 
No more than the almost complete silence of 
Josephus, or the rarity and paucity of the details fur- 
nished by the Latin historians, does the absence of 
any report from Pilate to the Emperor constitute an 
objection against the historical character of Jesus. 



DOES the name of Jesus the Nazarene or rather do 
the two names associated in this expression designate 
an historical person or the hero of a cult? Does the 
term Nazarene signify "Saviour Protector," and 
should it be considered as a divine name of similar 
character to Zeus Xenios, Hermes Psychopompos, or 
Jahveh Sabaoth? "There is every reason to think, 1 ' 
writes Drews, "that the name of Joshua or Jesus was 
that under which the expected Messiah was worshiped 
in certain Jewish sects." * Upon examination the argu- 
ments offered in support of this opinion seem somewhat 
shallow. Robertson 2 finds in the worship of Jesus a 
new form of the old Ephraim cult of Joshua, a solar 
divinity. A trace of this cult is to be found in a pas- 
sage in the book of the prophet Zechariah, where the 
high priest Joshua appears before the Angel of the 
Eternal, who causes him to take off his soiled garments 
and put on festal clothing. He receives this promise : 
"If thou wilt walk in My ways, and if thou wilt keep 
My charge, then shalt thou also judge My house and 
shalt also keep My courts" (Zech. Hi. 7). Jesus was 
a divine name, Jesus the Lord was God, considered 
in His essential character as liberator, healer, guardian, 

1 Drews, Die Chnstusmythe , i. p. 23. 
a Robertson, A Short History of Christianity, p. 8. 



and saviour. Is it not said, indeed, in Matt. i. 21: 
"Thou shalt call His name Jesus, for He shall save 
His people from their sins ?" 8 

It is unnecessary to inquire if Joshua, at a certain 
period, was a solar divinity; it suffices to note that at 
the epoch with which we are concerned, the Jews who 
read his history in the sixth book of the Bible saw in 
him a national hero, the successor of Moses, and the 
continuator of his work. He was one of the most 
popular heroes in Israelitish history, as is proved by 
the number of persons named after him, and of whom 
there is no temptation to make a mythical being or a 
divine hero. The high priest Joshua, mentioned by 
Zechariah, is also an historical personage; so little is 
he to be identified with Messiah that he receives the 
promise of the coming of the latter (Zech. iii. 9). 

Robertson and Drews also find mention of a pre- 
Christian Jesus in the magic papyrus of the Biblio- 
theque Nationale, where occurs the formula, U I adjure 
thee by the God of the Hebrews, Jesus." This papyrus, 
which is not earlier than the fourth century of our era, 
may doubtless reproduce a more ancient formula ; there 
is nothing, however, to authorize us to date it so far 
back as the mythologists would like. The form of 
words must doubtless be attributed to a pagan. It 
merely proves that the name of Jesus was considered 
to have great power, a thing which is explained by the 
great part played by exorcism in primitive Christian- 
ity.* The magical pagan formulas have readily 
adopted Jewish and Christian names. 5 That does not 

* "Jesus" signifies "Jahveh aids" 

4 Job. Weiss, Jesus von Nazareth, p. 19. 

'Deissmann, Licht vom Often, Tubingen, 1909* 


prove as Reitzenstein remarks, 6 that their authors 
were really acquainted with and understood Judaism or 
Christianity. This is proved, for instance, in a text 
cited by Dieterich, 7 in which Abraham, Isaac and Jacob 
are taken to be names for the God of Israel. 

If there is nothing to authorize us to consider the 
name of Jesus as a divine name, is the same the case 
with the designation "Nazarene" which accompanies 
it? Outside the New Testament, no text attests the 
existence in Galilee of a village called Nazareth. 
Neither the Old Testament, nor Josephus, nor the 
Talmud mention it, but it is not legitimate to conclude 
from this silence, as Cheyne 8 does, and as the myth- 
ologists willingly suppose as proved, that Nazareth 
is only a geographical fiction. We know from Josephus 
that Galilee was densely populated, and that it boasted 
204 villages and 15 fortified towns. 9 We only know 
a small part of these 219 localities, and even if the 
figures given by Josephus were exaggerated, many 
Galilean townships would not be mentioned in any 
text. 10 There is nothing astonishing in the supposition 
that Nazareth u a village of very trifling importance, 
should be among the number. 12 

Reitzenstein, Polmandres, Leipzig, 1904. 

T Dieterich, Abraxas, Leipzig, 1891. 

s Cheyne, article in Encyclop. Biblica, iii, "Nazareth." 

Josephus, Vila, par 235. 

10 Meyer, Ursprung und Anf , iii. 

iiWellhausen has suggested that the word Nazareth designates 
Galilee in the form Gennesar (Garden of Nesar), met with in i 
Mace. ii. 67, Matt. xiv. 34, Mark vi. 53- The similarity of Matt, 
xxvi. 69 and 71 proves the equivalence of Galilean and Nazarene. 
This ingenious hypothesis collides with the fact that if Galilee wai 
commonly designated by the word Nazar or Nazareth, it is very 
strange that it is nowhere clearly found. 

12 The fact that later tradition was acquainted with Nazareth proves 


The fact that evangelical tradition represents Jesus 
as coming from Nazareth 1S is far from being without 
significance. According to Messianic dogma the Mes- 
siah was to be born at Bethlehem, and the Gospels of 
Matthew and Luke in different ways, which are mutu- 
ally irreconcilable, strive to keep to this postulate. 14 
Christian tradition would not have created the fact 
destined to cause it so much embarrassment, that of 
the birth of Jesus at Nazareth. 15 

The explanations of the term Nazarene offered by 
the mythologists scarcely seem probable either. This 
term, which constitutes the most ancient designation 
of the Christians, is derived, according to W. B. Smith, 
from the root NSR, which is found sixty-three times 
in the Old Testament in the sense of protector and 
guardian. It is even more ancient still, for the Baby- 
lonian term Na-Sa-Ru is met with seven times in the 
code of Hammurabi. The Syrian form Nasaryu, in 
which is to be recognized the divine name Yah, signi- 
fies "God is Protector." It is not a term of geographi- 
cal origin, but a cultural name. This hypothesis could 
only be entertained if there were some real proofs of 
the existence of a pre-Christian sect of Nazarenes. 

nothing. So soon as one was persuaded that the place has existed, 
failure to find it again was impossible. 

is Matt xxi. n, Mark i 9, John i. 45, Acts x 38 The comparison 
between Mark vi. i and Luke iv. 16 shows that Nazareth was con- 
sidered to be the birthplace of Jesus 

14 Matt ii. 13-23 states that the family of Jesus was originally 
settled at Bethlehem, and returned after the flight to Egypt to lire in 
Nazareth to escape the jurisdiction of Archelaus, grandson of Herod. 
Luke ii. 1-7 states that Jesus was born during a journey of his parents 
to Jerusalem on the occasion of the census made by Quirinius. 

15 The birth of Jesus in Galilee constituted one of the Jewish ob- 
jections to his Messiahship. Cp. John yii. 41. 


The indications which the mythologists invoke cannot 
take the place of these. There is in the Gospel of 
Matthew a passage which puzzles interpreters. After 
the death of Herod, Joseph and Mary leave Egypt to 
settle in Nazareth of Galilee. 

The evangelist says that this was "that it might be 
fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets he shall 
be called a Nazarene" (Matt ii. 23). It is impossible 
to identify with certitude the prophecy here alluded 
to, and if it be desired to avoid recourse to the gratui- 
tous hypothesis of the use of some apocryphal work 
which has not been preserved, it is necessary to sup- 
pose that the evangelist connects the word Nazarene 
with some passage of Scripture containing a word from 
the same root or having some assonance with it. 16 
There would be here a play on the words which we 
should (owing to its obscurity) be unable to under- 
stand. One cannot suppose that this is the true origin 
of the word Nazarene. Rather would it be incumbent 
to suppose an assimilation worked out by Matthew, 
who always aims at showing in the Gospel history the 
fulfillment of prophecy. 

The word Nazarene contains perhaps an allusion 
to John the Baptist and his disciples, with whom Jesus 
was certainly in relation at the beginning of His 
ministry. It is well-known that the Mandaean tradi- 
tion represents Jesus as an apostate from the Baptist 

16 H. J Holtzmann (Die Synoptiker) and F Nicolardot (Procfdtt 
de redaction des trois premiers evangelistes) think of Es. ri. i, in 
which the Messiah is called "Nfcser" (offspring). It is impossible 
to connect the word Nazarene with the notion of the sect for the 
Christian tradition (Matt. xi. 18, 19; Luke vii. 33, 34? Mark ii. 18- 
20, etc.) has preserved a clear memory that Jesus was not an ascetic 
like John the Baptist. 


community. Thus would be explained the fact that 
the Christians were also called Nazarenes, while it 
would not be at all natural to have designated them 
as people of Nazareth because their master was a 
native of this village. 17 

But the problem of Nazareth is still not solved in 
this way. There occur in the New Testament the two 
forms, Nazarenos and Nazoraios. 18 W. B. Smith 19 
considers these equivalent, and supports his opinion by 
the coexistence of the two forms, Essenes and Es- 

The analogy is not conclusive, for the two forms do 
not only differ in their termination, but also in the 
quantity of the second syllable. If the form Naza- 
renos can be philologically derived from Nazareth, 20 
the same does not hold for Nazoraios, which must 
have another origin. 

The simplest explanation is that, as applied to Jesus, 
the term Nazarenos related to his native village, and 
that the association with the word Nazoraios, by 
which name the disciples of John the Baptist were 
called, caused the Christians to be called Nazarenes. 

* T Wetter, L'Arritrc plan hist, du Chnsttanisme primttif; R H.L.R., 
1922; Wellhausen, Das Evangellum Matthan, Berlin, 1904, p 142- 

1 8 The first is found in Mark i. 24, x. 47 *iv. 6 7 *vi. 6; Luke 
ir. 34 and xxiv 19 The second in Mark ii 23; Luke xvni. 37; 
John xviii 5*7 and xix. 19; and Acts ii. 22, in. 6, iv. 10, vi. 14, xxii 8, 
xxiv. 5, xxvi. 9. There is a certain variation in the manuscripts. The 
duality of form is, however, certain, and the testimony of the book 
of Acts proves that it is the form "Nazarcne" which prevailed. 

19 Smith, D. vorchr. Jesut, p. 53. 

*The correctness of the derivation (Nazarenos) if admitted by 
Meyer, who cites the opinion of Lidzbarski In the New Testament 
are to be found the farms, widely divergent, as follows: Nazara, 
Nazarat, Nazaret, Nazareth, etc. In the oldest manuscript there it 
no consistent spelling. 


In this it was desired to emphasi that they were 
only apostates from the Baptist community. 

It seems very likely indeed that at first the Chris- 
tians called themselves "disciples" or "brothers," and 
later on "saints," and that the names Nazarene and 
Christian were given to them by their opponents. 


The explanation which we propose of the words 
Nazarene and Nazarenian would have no import if it 
were possible to prove the existence of a pre-Christian 
sect of Nazarenes, worshipers of Jesus, as is main- 
tained, in particular by W. B. Smith, who entitles one 
of his books The pre-Christian Jesus. 

The first proof alleged in favor of the existence of 
this sect is based upon the hymn of the Naasseni, 21 who 
date back to the most remote antiquity and attest the 
cult of a celestial Jesus. 22 

The subject is the Soul who has quitted the Kingdom 
of Light and groans in suffering and tears. Lost in a 
labyrinth, vainly escape is sought. 23 

"Then Jesus said: 'Behold, O Father! this tempted 
being who, far from Thy influence, wanders miserably 
on earth. He longs to fly from bitter chaos, but he 
knows not how to ascend. For his salvation, O Father ! 
send Me ; that I may descend with the seals 2 * in My 
hands, that I may traverse the aeons, that I may open 

21 Preserved by Hippolytus, Philosophoumena, v. xo. 2. 
** Smith and Drews. 
* 8 The text is Dot absolutely certain. 

>* It is often a question of seals with the Gnostics, particularly in 
the Pistis Sophia. 


the mysteries, that I may reveal unto him the essence of 
God, and announce unto him the mystery of the holy 
life which is called the gnosis. 1 " 

According to the mythologists, the Jesus of this 
hymn had no contact with Christianity, and was a Being 
entirely celestial. Their conclusion seems to have been 
drawn with some precipitation. Nothing authorizes 
us to date the Naasseni hymn before the Christian era. 
Hilgenfeld 26 has shown that the Naassenes had made 
use of the epistles of Paul and of the fourth Gospel. 
In the form known to us, and whatever its distant 
origins may be, the Naasseni doctrine betrays the 
influence of Christianity. 28 It would therefore be un- 
able to prove the existence of a pre-Christian cult of 
Jesus. This argument is strengthened by the con- 
sideration that, following a very judicious remark of 
Bousset, it is not certain that in the hymn preserved 
by Hippolytus the name of Jesus may not proceed 
from a retouching of a corruption of the text. For 
at the beginning of the hymn there is presented 
the "Nous" along with Chaos, and the Soul to be 
saved. In these conditions the decisive argument 
that the mythologists thought they possessed disap- 

Epiphanius (H#r. } xviii) mentions among the Jew- 
ish heresies a sect of Nazarenes, and what he says 
about it does not permit him to attribute a Christian 
character to it. As he does not state that it was de- 
veloped only after Christianity, this would prove, 
according to Smith, that the Nazarenes were a pre- 
Christian sect from which Christianity doubtless 

Hilgenfeld, Die Ketzer fetch, des Vrchristcntums. 
*'Reitzcnftein, Poimandret, p. 81. 


adopted much. 27 And against this conclusion, accord- 
ing to him, it would not be possible to urge as argu- 
ment the silence of other students of heresy, who, being 
less honest and less naive than Epiphanius, saw how 
dangerous to the official Church doctrine was the ex- 
istence of these Nazarenes, and kept a discreet silence 
concerning them. 28 There is a singular lack of propor- 
tion between the statements of Epiphanius and the 
conclusions which he claims to deduce from them. An 
entire historical construction of the greatest impor- 
tance, which would overthrow many facts apparently 
solidly established, rests upon one single testimony 
that of a man who does not always show himself well 
informed, and who frequently has not made the most 
judicious use of the information at his disposal. 29 If 
we scrutinize closely the testimony of Epiphanius, we 
find that concerning these Nazarenes he appears to 
know nothing more than the name; it is noteworthy 
that he says nothing which attributes to them a worship 
of Jesus. 80 All that there is in common between them 
and the Christians is a name only. To permit any 
conclusion to be drawn from this fact it would be neces- 
sary to show that it cannot be a simple coincidence, or, 
what would be still more probable, some confusion 
made either by Epiphanius or by the author of whom 
he makes use. Now this proof has not been furnished. 

7 Smith, D. vorchr. Jesus, pp. 56, 57. 

28 Smith, D. vorchr. Jesus, p 64. 

w "His criticism is not sound. . . . The moment he leaves the re- 
gion of contemporary facts his information should be checked; it is 
confused and lacks precision. He had a relatively uncritical tem- 
perament without intellectual acuteness." Tixeront, Patrologie, 1918, 

p. 253- 

Weiss, Jesus von Nazareth; Wmdisch, Der geschichtliche 
Jesus (Th. R.). 


On the contrary, two scholars, Schmidtke and Bousset, 
have proposed a simple and plausible explanation of 
the testimony of Epiphanius. There might, perhaps, 
be certain reservations to make on some details of their 
theories, but in their main outlines it does not ap- 
pear a matter of doubt that they are well founded, 
and that they have consequently caused the disap- 
pearance of the pre-Christian Nazarenes from his- 

In the course of his research in Judeo-Christianity 
and the Jewish Christians, 81 Schmidtke has proved that 
all the narratives found in the writings of the Fathers 
of the Church concerning a Judeo-Christian sect going 
under the name of Nazarenes and not under the usual 
name of Ebionites originate with Appollinarius of 
Laodicea (310-90). The Nazarene sect really ex- 
isted at Beroe in Syria ; it was strictly Judeo-Christian, 
and used an Aramaic gospel, some fragments of which 
are preserved, and which seems to have been a transla- 
tion of the Gospel of Matthew slightly revised. Con- 
cerning these Nazarene Christians, Epiphanius speaks 
in the twenty-ninth chapter, according to Appollinarius. 
The details he gives concerning them seem worthy of 
belief. It is in the eighteenth chapter that he speaks 
of the pre-Christian Nazarenes. Schmidtke says that 
here he depends both upon Hippolytus and a list of 
heretical Jewish sects. 82 He believes that Epiphanius 
has substituted the Nazarenes for the Ebionites. 88 He 

81 Schmidtke, Neue Fragment* und Untfrsuchungen vu dtr Juden- 
chnstlichcn Evangclien, xxxvii, 1911, Leipzig. 

**Id., tb., p. 199- .. . 

He writes their name with a sigma and not with a zeta, to distin- 
guish them from the Nazarene Christians, just as he distinguishes 
between the Eastmans and the Osseniant. 


even believes that in his work, as first sketched out, 
Epiphanius had called them Ebionites. 

The peculiarities of those which he describes in 
Chapter xxx correspond exactly, in fact, with the ac- 
count given of the Nazarenes in Chapter xviii. Epiph- 
anius was misled in taking for a Jewish sect the 
Nazarenes, whom the Jews in their daily prayer cursed 
under the name of Nozrim simultaneously with the 
heretics (Minim). 84 

Bousset, 85 who accepts the argument of Schmidtke in 
its generality, and who believes that he has definitely 
found the key to the enigma, supposes that in the 
source of which he makes use concerning the Naza- 
renes, Epiphanius had only found some geographical 
details about the place in which the sect was met with, 
and that in order to write his account he had utilized, 
from what he knew about the Judeo-Christian groups, 
everything which had not a Christian character. 
Bousset supposes that the Nazarenes were mentioned 
in the list of Jewish heresies utilized by different 
Fathers. The Jewish author who had furnished it 
mentioned in fact Christianity as among the heresies 
to be rejected. 

In these circumstances one has no choice but to 
endorse the conclusion reached by Bousset in these 
terms: "The pre-Christian Nazarenes of Epiphanius 
are definitely consigned to the domain of error and 

s* The twelfth request of the "Schemon* Esre" is given in the text 
discovered in the synagogue of Cairo and published in 1897: "May 
there be no hope for the apostates! Mayest Thou, in our time, anni- 
hilate the domination of the insolent! May the Christians (Nozrim) 
and the heretics (Minim) be suddenly annihilated! May they be no 
longer written in the book of life' Praised be Jahveh, who bring! 
low the insolent!" (Strack, Jesus die Htretiker, etc.) 

95 Bousset, Tk. Rundschau, xir, 1911. 


misunderstanding, and it is to be hoped that they will 
forever disappear from the arsenal of proofs invoked 
in support of a pre-Christian cult of Jesus." 8 * 

But even when deprived of the hymn of the Naasseni 
and the Nazarene sect the mythologists are not dis- 
armed ; there remain for them the positive indications 
of the existence of a pre-Christian Jesus which they 
think they find in the New Testament itself. 

The first of these is the passage in the book of 
Acts which refers to Apollos. For Smith this text is 
the most valuable of ancient Christian literature. 87 
We read in Acts xviii. 24-26: "And a certain Jew 
named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man 
and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus. This 
man was instructed in the way of the Lord, and being 
fervent in spirit as he spake and taught diligently the 
things concerning Jesus, knowing only the baptism of 
John. And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue, 
whom, when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they 
took him unto them and expounded unto him the way 
of God more perfectly." 

It follows from this text, thinks Smith, that Apollos 
knew nothing about Jesus, otherwise he ought to have 
known everything, including the doctrine of baptism. 
This ignorance did not hinder his preaching u that 
which concerned Jesus." 

"It is therefore," writes Smith, "as clear as the noon- 
day sun that this form of words can have no relation 
to the history of Jesus." It must mean the doctrine 
concerning Jesus a doctrine which a man who knew 

Bou9sct, Th Rundschau, xiv, 19", P- 3*i. 

7 Smith, D. vorchr. Jew, p. 7. 

The text is translatable in two different ways. 


nothing about an historical Jesus could not only pro- 
fess, but preach. This text is therefore for the myth- 
ologists (the expression is again Smith's) "an ines- 
timable diamond." 89 

But, when closely examined, the passage may not 
perhaps have all the significance attributed to it, or, 
to put it more precisely, its value and significance may 
have a quite other character. Whatever the origin 
of the reference used by the editor of the Acts may be, 
we are not certain we know its original purport. It 
is possible, indeed, that the form "that which concerned 
Jesus" may be put to the account of the editor, 510 and 
that it merely expresses the belief that the religious 
attitude of Apollos, when he arrived at Ephesus, fitted 
him to become a Christian. Prisciila and Aquila 
doubtless recognized in the ardent and eloquent Mes- 
sianist a man who would be able to render eminent 
service to their faith, and they succeeded in gaining 
him over to their cause. But we have no wish to insist 
on this interpretation, which to a certain extent is 

The exegesis of Smith rests upon a postulate which 
is in contradiction with certain historical data. This 
postulate is that the doctrine of Christian baptism, 
opposed to that of John the Baptist, is an essential 
element in the history of Jesus in that he who ignores 
the Christian baptism must perforce ignore all the 
evangelical history. If at the opening of His ministry 
Jesus (as shown in John iii. 22 and iv. i) may have 
administered a baptism in every way identical with that 
of John the Baptist, He seems to have relinquished it 

Smith, D. vorckr. Jesus, pp. 7-9. 

Meyer, Ursprung und Anf., iii, p. na. 


in the sequel. 41 No text attributes the institution of 
baptism to Jesus during His ministry, and when ac- 
count is taken of the interest the Church had in cover- 
ing with the Master's own authority her rites, it is 
impossible to pass over this extremely significant 
silence. Matthew alone (xxviii. 19, 20) relates that 
Jesus, risen again, said to His disciples at the moment 
he was to leave them : "All power has been given to 
Me in the heavens and in earth. Go ye therefore and 
teach" (literally "make disciples") "all nations, bap- 
tizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the 
Holy Spirit." 

Neither Luke nor John 42 contains any equivalent 
of this narrative, which thus appears as relatively 
recent. The passage in Matthew has for its object to 
support, upon the authority of the resurrected Christ 
(that is, Christ as Spirit), the institution of baptism 
as practised by the Church. This reveals nothing as 
to the real origin of the rite, but merely shows that it 
has no place in the historical mission of Jesus. 43 In 
these circumstances it is easily understood that it was 
not immediately introduced in all the Christian com- 
munities. The fact that Paul (i Cor. vii. 14), with- 
out making any allusion to baptism, admits that the 
children of Christians are saints that is, belong to 
God, uniquely because they are born of parents them- 

Tradition has so little belief that baptism goes back to Jesus, that 
the fourth Gospel after quoting a statement that Jesus had bap- 
tized, itself corrects this (John iv. 2) 

* 2 The testimony of Mark is lacking on this point, owing to the 
mutilation of the end of his book. The nonauthentic end of Mark, 
which appears not to be anterior to the second century, gives (xvi. 
16) something equivalent, with this particularity, that the practice of 
baptism is only supposed, but not directly attributed to institution. 

* 8 Meyer, Ursprung und Anf., iii, p. 245. 


selves saints shows that the baptism of children was 
unknown in the Pauline communities, and it allows us 
to suppose that the rite was only practised for those 
who entered the Church, not for those born in it. It 
may not have been in use at the beginning in the 
Jerusalem community. Doubtless the accounts in the 
Acts on several occasions speak of baptism, 44 but their 
testimony is not conclusive, for the editor of this book 
has naively projected into the primitive community the 
situation which existed in the Church of his time. The 
use of baptism might have arisen, as Bousset supposes, 
not in the midst of the Palestine Community, but per- 
haps in the Diaspora at Antioch, in analogy with the 
Jewish baptism for proselytes. A teaching which was 
intimately connected with the historical ministry of 
Jesus, and based upon memoirs of this ministry, might 
very easily have only known of the baptism of John. 
The exegesis of Smith evokes another objection. It 
is in no way proved that the expression "that which 
concerned Jesus" must be understood in the sense of 
"the doctrine concerning Jesus." Smith himself recog- 
nizes that the Greek words used may signify 45 "the 
story told concerning someone," but he considers that 
the three passages of the New Testament (outside of 
the Acts) where this form of words is found refer to 
the doctrine and not to the story of Jesus, or at least 
they originally did so. According to Acts xxviii. 31, 
during his two years of captivity passed in Rome, in 
his own hired house, Paul taught freely "that which 
concerned the Lord Jesus Christ." Paul did not tell 
histories to the Romans; he preached the Gospel to 

"Acti ii. 38-41; viii. 12, 13, 16, 3$, 3J l8 > * 4*- 

* Thi is evidently the meaning of the phrase in Acts xxviii. 15. 


them. But to lay it down as a principle that the Pauline 
Gospel is a doctrine concerning Jesus which contains 
no historical element is to suppose, as resolved in favor 
of the mythological theories, the very question in 
dispute. In the teaching imparted to the Romans, as 
in that which had been given to the Galatians (iii. i), 
the crucifixion of an historical personage was^he start- 
ing-point of the Pauline preaching. 

The two passages in which is found the phrase "that 
which concerned Jesus" are characteristic. In the 
story of the woman with the issue of blood Mark 
has it: "Having heard the things concerning Jesus, 
she came in the crowd behind and touched His gar- 
ment; for, said she, if I but touch His garment I shall 
be made whole.' 1 

"The things concerning Jesus" could only mean the 
story of His miracles, which made the sufferer hope 
that she also would be cured. Smith is certainly com- 
pelled to recognize that such is indeed the meaning 
of the passage, but he attempts to put aside its evi- 
dence by maintaining that it must be attributed to some 
reviser of Mark. 46 If it had been primarily a ques- 
tion of healing, he thinks, the woman would not have 
said "I shall be saved," but "I shall be cured." This 
observation takes no account of the fact that in many 
passages "to be saved" has exactly the same meaning 
as "to be healed" (Mark v. 23, vi. 56; Luke viii. 36- 


There is here no impropriety of expression, since, 
according to the current conception of the period, the 
disease was caused by the action of a demon, from 

1* lttttk D, wrchr, Jesui. 


whom the sufferer must be delivered in order to be 
healed. The phrase attributed to the woman "I shall 
be saved" does not therefore prove that it was orig- 
inally a question of anything other than healing. 

Smith also supposes that the words "having learned 
that which concerned Jesus" cannot belong to the 
primitive text because they have no equivalent either 
in Matthew or Luke. But these two evangelists give 
a recension of the passage considerably briefer than 
that of Mark. 

The comparison of the three narratives leads one 
to think that (as is fairly often the case) there is 
an abbreviation of the account by Matthew and Luke, 
and not a development by Mark. That which is found, 
indeed, only in his narrative is too insignificant to 
induce us to find a reason for its addition, while the 
single desire to condense a narrative fairly lengthy 
suffices to explain the form they have adopted. It 
is therefore not possible to attribute to a subordi- 
nate editor the phrase "that which concerned Jesus" 
as interpreted in the sense "that which Jesus had 

The passage in Luke xxiv. 19 is not less significant. 
The story is well known of the two disciples who the 
day after the death of Jesus reach Emmaus while 
talking over what had just taken place. 

Jesus, whom they do not recognize as yet, comes 
up to them and takes the same road. He asks them 
what they have been talking about. One of them re- 
plies: "You must indeed be a stranger in Jerusalem 
not to be aware of what has happened in these last 
few days ... the matter concerning Jesus of Naza- 
reth. 11 


The matter concerning Jesus of Nazareth can only 
be the condemnation and execution of the prophet in 
whom they had placed their hopes. To understand 
the phrase as referring to some doctrine about Jesus, 
a divine Being, would be to give it no meaning at all, 
so Smith is obliged to suppose that the passage has 
undergone a radical revision. But this is a conjecture 
which rests upon nothing, and is only put forward for 
the exigencies of the case. 

The expression "that which concerns Jesus" refers, 
then, to the story, or certain portions of the story, of 
Jesus. There is no reason to give to this expression 
any other meaning than in Acts xviii. 25. We must not, 
then, see in Apollos a Jew who teaches a form of doc- 
trine concerning Jesus which ignores the Gospel his- 
tory, but a Christian who knows nothing of baptism. 

If Smith is thus deprived of the "diamond of in- 
estimable value," the stones which he has attempted 
to group around it to make a tiara lose very much 
of their value. We are not, however, for that reason 
excused from examining them. 47 

There is in the first place the case of Simon the 
Magician. It is narrated in Acts viii. 9-13 that when 
Philip came to evangelize Samaria, he met a magician 
named Simon, enjoying great authority over the popu- 
lation, who considered him the "great power of God." 
Like other Samaritans, Simon was converted by the 
preaching of Philip. A little further on it is narrated 
that when, after the arrival of Peter and John, Simon 
learned that by the laying on of hands the apostles 

47 We pass over for the moment the case of the dasciples of 
Ephesus, and shall deal with it further on. 


conferred the Holy Spirit, he offered money to Peter 
to receive the same power. Peter rejected his pro- 
posal with indignation, and pronounces a malediction 
upon him. Simon then asks the apostles to pray for 
him, so that his sin may be pardoned (viii. 18-24). 
The rapidity of the conversion of Simon and the 
Samaritans is explained, for Smith, by the fact that 
they were already won over to ideas very similar to 
those preached by Philip. They were therefore Chris- 
tians, although they were strangers to the tradition 
which it is claimed is connected with an historical 
Jesus. 48 Smith deduces here from the text something 
quite other than what it contains. The point is the 
conversion of Simon and the Samaritans to the gospel 
preached by Philip,* 9 and not the fusion of a group 
of Simon's followers with the Church which Philip 
represented a fusion which would have been deter- 
mined by recognition of the fact that at bottom the 
ideas professed by each side were the same. 

There are in the second portion of the narrative 
about Simon many suspicious elements. In it is found 
a theory concerning the apostolate and the laying on 
of hands which is not a primitive one, and it is pos- 
sible to discern, with M. Meyer and M. Alfaric, 50 
an apologetic fiction which shows how the Christian 
missionaries anticipated the conversion of the Simon- 

ian community and prefaced it by that of Simon him- 

48 Smith, D. vorchr Jesus, p n. 

49 There is nothing to show that this conversion was more rapid 
than that of pagans unacquainted with any ideas analogous to those 
of the Christians. 

Meyer, Ur sprung and Anf , hi; Prosper Alfaric, Chnstianumt 
tt Gnosttcisme (Rev. Hist., 19*4)- 


self. The first portion of the narrative has quite 
another value. It reveals the existence in Samaria, at 
the time of the first mission, of a pre-Christian Gnos- 
ticism which perhaps was not without sensible influence 
on the development of Christian thought. 51 But this 
Simonian Gnosticism, so far as we can form an idea 
of it, is not the pre-Christian doctrine that the myth- 
ologists imagine, which consisted in worship paid to 
a divine personage. All that we know concerning the 
Simonian Gnosticism is its idea of the incarnation in 
a man, Simon, of the "great power of God." B2 This 
shows and it is an extremely valuable indication 
certain theorists ought not to lose sight of that 
the idea of a human being in whom a divine prin- 
ciple incarnated was not in any way a strange 
idea in the environment in which Christianity was 


Neither do we recognize an adept of pre-Christianity 
in the magician Elymas, or Bar-Jesus, a Jewish false 
prophet whom Paul met at Paphos in the coterie which 
surrounded Sergius Paulus (Acts xiii. 6-12). Smith 
interprets the name Bar-Jesus in the sense of "servant 
or worshiper of Jesus" M a sense which would be 
plausible if the name of Jesus was not attested as 
one in current use. It is only by an argument in a 
vicious circle, in postulating a priori that "Bar-Jesus" 
is formed from a divine name, that it is possible to 
find in the episode an argument to support a pre- 
Christian worship of Jesus. 

Alfaric, Rev. Hist., cxlv, 19*4- 

M It seems to us not possible to admit, as some have supposed, that 
Simon could have been influenced by the teaching of Jesus, as Meyer 
thinks, and still less that of Paulinism, as Harnack admits, 

01 Smith, D. vorchr. Jesus, p. 16. 


Smith 54 also lays emphasis on the fact that the pro- 
consul, not yet initiated into the preaching of the 
apostles, asks to hear from them "the word of God" 
(Acts xiii. 7). It is very evident that the terms of the 
narrative must be put to the editor's credit. If the pro- 
consul really expressed the wish to hear Paul and 
Barnabas, it was not because he saw in them the 
preachers of a doctrine already known to him, but 
because they presented themselves as bearers of a 
divine message. 

The case of the exorcists of Ephesus (Acts xix. 13- 
20), on which the mythologists also lay stress, has not 
the significance they attribute to it. Impressed by the 
miracles of Paul at Ephesus, seven Jewish exorcists, 
sons of a priest named Skeuas, attempted to make use 
of the same formula used successfully by the apostle, 
and adjured the spirits saying: "I adjure you by Jesus, 
whom Paul preaches." But the spirit answered them: 
" Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are ye? 1 ' 
And the one possessed fell upon the exorcists and 
maltreated them." The fact is without significance as 
regards the existence of a pre-Christian cult of Jesus. 
It is merely a case of the imitation by outsiders of a 
formula of exorcism whose efficacy has been observed. 
This, at any rate, is so in the text as we read it, and 
nothing authorizes us to suppose that it was otherwise 
in the original. According to the mythologists, Chris- 
tianity had no unique source from which it was spread, 
as Jerusalem. It had several simultaneous sources. 

* Id > ib p, 22. 

* B There; arc certain incoherences in the account. Sometimes it ia a 
question of one demoniac, sometimes of several. This appears to 
arise from the fusion of two parallel accounts, and is without im- 


Afterwards the memory of this fact was lost, and 
Christianity was connected with the preaching of Jesus. 
However, it may still be recognized that Cyprus and 
Cyrenaica were centers from which Christianity was 
spread, entirely independent of Jerusalem. According 
to Acts xi. 20 it was the men of Cyprus and Cyrene 
who were the first (at Antioch) to preach the gospel 
to the pagans. 66 But we know (see Acts iv. 36) that 
a Cypriote, destined later to play an important part at 
Antioch, was converted to the gospel at Jerusalem, 
and we learn in the book of Acts (vi. 9) that persons 
belonging to the synagogue of the Freedmen, 87 and 
people from Cyrene, Alexandria and Asia, raised vio- 
lent opposition against Stephen, which proves that 
the gospel had been preached by him in this synagogue. 
There is therefore no reason to suppose that it was 
anywhere other than in Jerusalem, or in the commu- 
nities which grew out of that of Jerusalem, that the 
Cypriotes and the Cyrenians who played an active 
part in the early missions were converted to Chris- 
tianity. This equally applies to a certain Mnason, "a 
Cypriote and old disciple," who received Paul in his 
house on the latter's arrival in Jerusalem (Acts xxi. 
1 6), and in whom some have tried to also see an adept 
of the pre-Christian cult of Jesus." Although he was 
a Cypriote, he lived in Jerusalem, and in stating that 
he was an "old disciple" (we are between the years 
56 and 58), the editor only desired to indicate that 
he had long been a Christian. 

56 Smith) D. vorchr. Jesus. 

7 Certain critics think that instead of "Freedmen" the phrase 
should read, "the people of Lybia." In Greek the confusion between 
the two words is, from the paleographical point of view, very easy. 

" Smith, D. wrc/tr. Jesut. 



At the beginning of Chapter xix of the book of Acts 
it is stated that, after his arrival at Ephesus, Paul met 
with a group of a dozen disciples who had never heard 
of the Holy Spirit. "What baptism have ye then re- 
ceived?" he asked. They replied: 'That of John." 
"John," he answered, "baptized with the baptism of 
repentance in speaking of Him who was to come after* 
in order that they should believe, that is to say, in 
Jesus." He then conferred on these disciples the bap- 
tism in the name of the Lord Jesus ; he laid his hands 
upon them; they received the Holy Spirit, and began 
to speak in different tongues and to prophesy (xix. i- 
7) . In the view of the mythologists these twelve men 
were, like Apollos himself, pre-Christians, and the 
facility of their conversion shows how closely their 
point of view resembled that of Paul himself. 69 

Many critics 60 see in them the disciples of John the 
Baptist 01 But the word "disciples," by which these 
men are designated, is that commonly employed in the 
Acts for the Christians, and it is not stated that these 

60 Reitzenstein, Das iranische Erlosungsmysterium, 1921. 

61 As Reitzenstein shows well in the above work, no objection 
can be raised against the presence of disciples of John at Ephesus. 
The fact is that we know nothing about the conditions in which the 
doctrine of John was spread outside Palestine We know nothing 
either of the conditions under which Christianity was carried to 
Rome. We can especially urge in support of the existence of the 
disciples of John the Baptist at Ephesus the fact that the fourth 
Gospel in its present form originates at Ephesus, and is a direct 
polemic against the disciples of John the Baptist Cp. Baldensperger, 
Der Prolog des vierten Evangelwms; Maurice Goguel, Introd. au 
N.T. t ii, p. 508. 


twelve men received instructions along with baptism. 
This leads us to suppose that the position of these 
men must have been similar to that of Apollos. But 
even if they were really disciples of John the Baptist, 
no very important conclusions can be drawn from their 

There are serious reasons for thinking that neither 
during the life of Jesus nor after His death did the 
group of His disciples remain out of contact with the 
Baptist community. The two movements combated 
and influenced each other reciprocally. 

The preaching of Jesus Himself was very strongly 
influenced at the beginning by John the Baptist. The 
Gospels present John as the forerunner. According 
to them, his duty was to announce the arrival of one 
"greater than himself," whose work would be to im- 
part the baptism of the spirit and of fire (Matt. iii. 
ll). This last word opens out already an interesting 
perspective in showing that the thought of the Baptist 
had already broken through the limits within which 
it was sought to imprison it. Wellhausen 62 has recog- 
nized one source emanating from a group of the Bap- 
tist's disciples in the statement about his Messianic 
teaching which belongs peculiarly to Matthew (iii. 
ii, 12) and to Luke (iii. 16, 17). Where Mark 
merely says, "He shall baptize you with the Holy 
Spirit," Matthew and Luke add "and with fire. He 
has His fan in His hand, and He shall thoroughly 
purge His floor. The wheat He shall store in His 
granary; the chaff He shall burn in everlasting fire." 
The personage that John the Baptist announces in these 
words is an Apocalyptic Messiah who pronounces judg- 

aWellhausen, Einlfitung in die drti ersten Evangchen, 1911. 


ment, and it is in view of this judgment that repentance 
is preached and baptism is administered. Jesus had 
been in contact with John the Baptist. His first ser- 
mon, as it is given by Mark (i. 15) and Matthew 
(iv. 17) is almost word for word identical with that 
of John (Matt. iii. 2). Christian tradition, so jealous 
to maintain the originality and the independence of 
Jesus, would not have arbitrarily imagined Him as 
merely reechoing the teaching of one in whom it only 
saw a forerunner. 

The point upon which Christian teaching, even in 
the lifetime of Jesus, separated itself from the Bap- 
tist's teaching is of capital importance. While for John 
and his followers "He who is to come" (Matt. xi. 3 
and Luke vii. 19) the Son of man (the idea, if not 
the word, is at the heart of John's thought) belongs 
to the future, for the Christians He has come, although 
He may not have had all the attributes of power. 
The fourth Gospel clearly shows this contrast in the 
way it affirms that John was not the light (i. 8), and 
makes him declare that he was not the Christ (i. 20), 
while it states, not less categorically, that Jesus is the 
light (i. 9, iii. 19, viii. 12, xii. 46), and that He is 
the divine Logos (i. 14), the Son of God (i. 18 and 
34, iii. 1 6, xx. 31, etc.), the Christ (xi. 27, xx. 31). 

Reitzenstein 68 has extracted from Mandaean writ- 
ings an Apocalypse which appears to him slightly 
posterior e4 to the year 70, 65 and which he believes to 

6 8 Reitzen8tem, Das Mandaische Buck des Herrn der Gross und 
der Evangelienuberheferung. 

64 It is known that the Mandaean religion, whose character is 
markedly syncretist, is related to the tradition of the Baptist's 

65 This date should be received with reservations. See those stated 


originate from John's disciples. A passage of this 
Apocalypse presents at once an analogy and a strik- 
ing contrast with the reply of Jesus to the messengers 
of John, who asked : "Art thou He who should come, 
or do we look for another?" "Go," declares Jesus, 
"and tell unto John that which ye see and hear; the 
blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the 
deaf hear, the dead are raised, and to the poor the 
gospel is preached" (Matt. xi. 4, 5 ; Luke vii. 22). In 
other words, the Messianic program of Isaiah (xxxv. 
5) is fulfilled. 

In the Mandaean Apocalypse the same program is 
announced as destined to be fulfilled by the expected 
Messiah : "Enoch Uthra enters into Jerusalem clothed 
with clouds; he walks in bodily form, but he has no 
material clothing. He comes in the years of Paltus 
[Pilate]. Enoch Uthra comes into the world with the 
power of the great king of light. He heals the sick, 
he causes the blind to see, he cleanses the lepers, he 
straightens those who are bowed, he causes the im- 
potent to walk and the dumb to speak. With the 
power of the great king of light he brings back the 
dead to life. Among the Jews he wins over believers 
and shows unto them there is life, and there is death, 
there is error and there is truth. He converts the Jews 
in the name of the great king of light. Three hundred 
and sixty prophets go out from Jerusalem; they testi- 
fy in the name of the Lord of might. Enoch Uthra 
ascends on high, and places himself near unto Mes- 
hume Kushtra. All the Uthras are hid from the eyes 

by M, Loisy. From our present point of view, it suffices that the 
Apocalypse reflects the ideas of John the Baptist, which seems 
hardly contestable. 


of men. Then shall Jerusalem be laid waste. The Jews 
shall go forth into exile, and shall be dispersed in all 


As thus presented this text does not appear to be 
homogeneous ; it must have been, in certain points, in- 
fluenced by Christian tradition. It suffices, however, 
to show that the disciples of John taught as necessary 
to be fulfilled by the Apocalyptic Messiah the pro- 
gram that the Christians said had been accomplished 
by Jesus. 

Here is the great difference between the ideas of 
John the Baptist and those of the Christians. For the 
first named the coming of the Messiah is in the future; 
for the second it is in the past, and only His second 
coming is expected. The difference is a capital one, 
and suffices to prove that if the two movements were 
born on the same soil the second cannot be reduced to 
the first, but appears with reference to it, as though 
it were an original creation. 




FROM the earliest period of its existence Christianity 
was an object of the liveliest attacks, both on the part 
of Jew and pagan, in Jerusalem and Palestine, as also 
in the Greco-Roman world through which it spread 
at an early date. 

We are familiar enough with the anti-Christian 
polemics from the second to the fourth century; that 
of Lucian by the witticisms of De morte Peregrini; 
that of Celsus (in his True Discourse, composed in the 
year 180) by the quotations which Origen makes from 
it * ; that of the unknown philosopher and of Porphyry 
(233-304) by the refutation of Macarius of Mag- 
nesia (about 410) ; that of Julian the Apostate (331- 
63) by the refutation of Cyril of Alexandria. By 
means of the various apologies of the second century 
(those of Justin Martyr, Tatien, Aristides), and by 
the dialogues of Justin with the Jew Tryphon, we can 
gain a fairly accurate conception of the doctrines which 
were opposed to the Christians in the course of the 
second century. Just as there was an apologetic tra- 
dition, so was there a polemical one. They are always 

*In his Contra Celsum, written about 348. Concerning this work 
of Celsus and its refutation by Origen consult Neumann and De 


the same critical ideas, characterized with more or less 
of ability and penetration, which flow from the pens 
of the opponents of Christianity. 

The pagan polemic did not present a physiognomy 
very different from that of the Jews. One philosopher, 
Celsus, sought in the Jewish arsenal for weapons to 
wield against Christianity. 2 For everything which con- 
cerned evangelical history the discussion had to depend 
upon Christian tradition. It was upon the ground of 
the Gospels that the opponents of Christianity took 
up their position. They called attention to the lack of 
culture of the evangelists, pointed out in their narra- 
tives incoherences, contradictions, and improbabilities, 
but they never stigmatized them as purely and simply 
fictions. 8 They only attempted to give to the story of 
Jesus an interpretation which eliminated from it the 
miraculous and the supernatural ; they did not contest 
its veracity. 4 

Doubtless it is not possible to extend to the first 
century the conclusion which holds for the period 
which followed it. Is it not, however, improbable that 
the disputants of the second century would have ne- 
glected an efficient weapon which they found had been 
used by their predecessors? Already, from this point 
of view, there are strong presumptions that the non- 
historical thesis was not supported in the primitive 

2 This has been well shown by W. Bauer. Bauer gives a table 
showing the life of Jesus according to Jewish and pagan opponents 
of Christianity. This table shows the fundamental agreement of 
the two sides. 

8 Bauer, Das Leben Jesu, etc. Tubingen, 1909. 

*Lucian, De morte Peregnm, Celsus (in Origen's work); Cacilius 
reproaches the Christians with worshiping a man punished with 


M. Salomon Reinach thinks that if we have no work 
of the first century in which the historical character 
of Jesus is questioned, 5 the reason is that if such very 
subversive documents had existed the Church would 
not have permitted them to survive. 6 It may be ad- 
mitted that the Church would have eliminated them 
from the canonical books and in a more general way 
from orthodox literature, but its power was limited 
to that, and it is not easy to see how the Church would 
have succeeded in completely prohibiting them. If the 
work of Lucian is excepted is it not striking that all 
we know about the polemical literature of Jews and 
pagans has been preserved for us by Christian apolo- 
gists ? how would the central question of the existence 
of Jesus have been treated otherwise than for other 
controverted questions? Would not opponents have 
made capital out of this attitude, which would have 
been an avowal? Although no polemical anti- 
Christian document belonging to the first century has 
come down to us, it is possible to form an idea of 
its quality by the influence which it exerted upon 
Christian tradition. The comparative study of 
the four evangelists shows that solicitude for 
apologetics was one of the factors which most di- 
rectly influenced the form into which they were 
cast. 7 

It could not be otherwise, for the Gospels were not 
written to satisfy the curiosity of historians, but to 

Exception is made of opponents whom Ignatius combated in 
the Epistle to the Philadelphians. We shall return to this passage 
when treating of Docetism 

6 S. Reinach, Questions sur le Docetisme. 

* Baldensperger, L'apologetique de la primitive Eglise; Urchristlicht 


gain men to the faith and to strengthen the convic- 
tions of those already won. 8 

The editors therefore had to present the facts in the 
way the most likely to answer the objections of op- 
ponents in advance. Now in none of the four Gospels 
is there to be found anything which directly or indi- 
rectly is directed against the thesis that the person 
Jesus had no historical reality. There are in several 
accounts of apparitions, remarks to emphasize the 
reality of the body of Jesus, resurrected? but never 
does any evangelist feel the need to affirm the reality 
of the body of Jesus during His ministry. This is 
because they were not engaged with opponents who 
denied it. 

The importance of this fact is considerable, for it 
was on the morrow of His birth that Christianity was 
confronted with Jewish opposition. How is it possible 
to suppose that the first antagonists of the Church 
could have been ignorant of the fact that the entire 
story of Jesus, His teaching, and His death corre- 
sponded to no reality at all? That it might have been 
ignored in the Diaspora may be admitted, but it ap- 
pears impossible at Jerusalem; and if such a thing 
had been known, how did the opponents of Christi- 
anity come to neglect the use of so terrible an argu- 
ment, or how, supposing they made use of it, does it 
happen that the Christians succeeded in so completely 
refuting them that not a trace of the controversy has 
been preserved by the disputants of the second 

This is evident from the express declaration of Luke (i. 4) 
and John (xx. 31). 
Luke xxiv. 39-4*; J onn * 


Against this argument the opponents of the histor- 
ical thesis may be tempted to rejoin that no decisive 
case can be based upon our Gospels, since under the 
most favorable hypothesis the oldest among them 
was not compiled less than forty years after the events 
which they relate or are supposed to relate. In a pe- 
riod of intense religious ferment, forty years suffice 
for exact memories to disappear or undergo profound 
transformation, or for the birth of a legend ready 
made. But our Gospels are not the first narrations 
which saw the light; and before their compilation had 
begun there existed an oral tradition capable of pre- 
serving the facts with remarkable fidelity. The Gos- 
pel tradition in its essential elements goes much far- 
ther back than the compilation of the first written 
Gospels. We shall attempt in a later chapter to prove 
that the theology of Paul implies this fact. 


Docetism is the opinion of those who believed that 
in the person of Jesus the human element was only 
an appearance. Such as we find this belief, for instance 

iM Hubert Pcrnot (Etudes de literature grecque moderne) 
has quoted a very curious case of the fidelity of oral tradition. It 
refers to a Cretan poem (La Belle Bergere) "In 1890," writes M. 
Pernot, "an inhabitant of Chio, Constantine Kaneallakis, gave, with- 
out knowing its ancient origin, a version of it, which is a guarantee 
of authenticity so complete that I supposed it to be a revised copy 
of one of the Venetian editions, until one day this conscientious 
worker told me that he had picked it up at Nenita, his native 
village, from an old peasant woman The women of middle life 
being all illiterate in these places, the latter had only been able 
to hear the poem read. This is a characteristic example of the 
astonishing facility with which people, whose memory has not yet 
been enfeebled by the use of writing, are capable of retaining 
works of considerable length." 


in Marcion and in many second-century Gnostics, 
Docetism is not an affirmation of historical order: it 
is an interpretation of the history on which the Chris- 
tian faith was based. Among the second-century theo- 
logians, and even those of the first century, there are 
found side by side these two theses : Jesus is a man and 
He is God. Herein was presented a problem for 
Christian thought: How define in the person of the 
Christ the relation between the human element and 
the divine? The most diverse attempts were made in 
ancient Christianity to solve this problem up to the 
time when the orthodox doctrine was fixed. There 
were attempts which sacrificed one of the terms of the 
problem, either in making of the Christ a mere man 
raised to the heavens by His resurrection, or, on the 
contrary, by reducing the humanity in Him to but a 
mere appearance. 

That which the Docetists of the second century de- 
nied, was not that the story narrated by the evangelists 
was real, but that the humanity of the person to whom 
the story referred was anything more than a mere ap- 
pearance or a garment worn by a divine Being. 11 
Docetism is a theological opinion; it is not an his- 
torical affirmation. 12 

Such is particularly the character of Marcion's sys- 
tem, 18 that deep and daring thinker who in the first 
half of the second century gave, concerning the Chris- 

11 Justin, De resurrection, ii; Tractatus Ongensis, Origen, Contra 
Celsum, ii, 16 

12 Concerning the character of Docetism, see Harnack, Lehrbuch 
der Dogmengeschichtc 

18 Concerning the Doceticism of Marcion, see De Faye, Gnostiques 
et Gnosticisme; also Harnack, Marcion, Das Evangehum vom frem- 
den Gott. 


tianity which he sought to free from every link with 
Judaism, an interpretation so original and so fertile, 
and which Harnack compares to those of the apostle 
Paul and St. Augustine. In Marcion's view Christ had 
not been begotten ; He had nothing of the human about 
Him; He was and remains a Spirit. He appeared in 
human form (in hominis forma) ; His body was but 
an appearance. 14 It is necessary to conceive Him as 
like the angels who appeared to Abraham, who ate and 
drank and performed all the actions of human life " 
(Gen. xviii. 2-8). Harnack writes: "The Christ of 
Marcion is a God who appears in human form, feels, 
acts and suffers like a man, although the identification 
with a carnal body, naturally begotten, is in His case 
merely an appearance. It is incorrect, then, to assert 
that according to Marcion Christ did not suffer, and 
only died in appearance. This is the opinion His ad- 
versaries attributed to Him, but He only predicated 
appearance to the substance of the flesh of Christ." ie 

Marcion was so far from denying the Gospel history 
that he accepted a Gospel (that of Luke) which he 
had only purged of what he considered Judaising addi- 
tions. This he adapted to his ideas, particularly in 
suppressing the narration of the birth of Jesus and in 
'making His history begin at the baptism. 

The Gnostic Cerinthe also believed that Christ was 
only united with the man Jesus at the time of bap- 
tism, and separated from Him at the time of the 
Passion, so that Christ Himself had not suffered/" 

I 17 

"Irenaeiis, Adv. .Ear., Hi, 16, i. 

15 Tertullian, Adv. Marciontm, hi, 9. 

"Harnack, Marcion. 

17 Irenaeus, Adv. Har.> i, 26. 


This solicitude to preserve the full divinity of Christ 
by discarding the idea of suffering gave rise to rather 
strange interpretations of the story of the Passion. 
Irenaeus, for instance, states that Basilides 18 taught 
that Simon of Cyrene not only carried the cross of 
Jesus, but that he had been miraculously substituted for 
the latter, been crucified in His stead, while Jesus, lost 
in the crowd, looked on, laughing at the punishment 
of his double. 19 In the A eta Johannis (Chap, xcvii) 
there may be read how at the moment of the crucifixion 
Jesus appeared unto John, who had fled, and said to 
him: "John, for the people who are there, at Jeru- 
salem, I am crucified; I am pierced with thrusts of 
lance, I have vinegar and honey to drink, but to thee 
I speak; harken to what I tell thee." All these legends 
do not deny the story of the Passion; they develop 
upon the basis of the Gospel tradition an interpretation 
of the facts which eliminates the idea of the suffering 
and the death of a God. 

If such was the Docetism of the second century, it 
would be surprising if there had been previously a 
Docetism of an entirely different character. That 
Docetism is met with at the beginning of the second 
century, and perhaps earlier, there is no room to doubt. 
Jerome attests its high antiquity when he says that the 
blood of Christ was still fresh in Judea, and the 

18 DC Faye (Gnostiques ft Gnostictsmc) thinks that if Clement 
of Alexandria had known of this theory of Basilides, he would not 
have failed to attack it, and for this reason it should be only 
attributed to later adepts of the sect. 

iIf one may judge by the formula of abjuration imposed upon 
them, the Manicheans seem to have had the same opinion (Kessler). 
The same thing is found, according to Photius, in the "Acts of 
John" (Leucius Charinus). There is also a legend which has it 
that it was Judas who was crucified in the place of Jesus (Liepsius). 


apostles were still living when men could be found 
to affirm that the body of the Lord was merely a 
phantom. 20 

M. Loisy has with justice pointed out, as is shown 
in the context, that there is in the passage from St. 
Jerome an oratorical exaggeration in which hyperbole 
and inaccuracy abound. The phrase about the blood 
of Christ has no more significance than the statement 
concerning the apostles. As regards the latter, its sole 
origin is in the fact that Docetism was combated in 
the Johannine Epistles (i, iv. 2 and 2, 7). 

The formula in the first Epistle of John about the 
confession of Jesus Christ having come in the flesh 
(i, iv. 2) is not sufficiently precise to enable the thesis 
to which it is opposed to be reconstructed. This might 
just as well have been a negation of the Messianic 
character of the personality of Jesus as of the reality 
or His body. It is doubtless in the second sense that 
'the testimony of the Johannine Epistle should be inter- 
preted, because of an analogous, although more precise, 
controversy found in the Epistles of Ignatius. The 
Bishop of Antioch insists upon the reality of the facts 
of the Gospel history. To show this it suffices to quote 
a passage from the Epistle to the Christians of Tralles. 
It refers to Jesus Christ, "who had really been begot- 
ten, who had eaten and drunk, who had really been 
judged under Pontius Pilate, really crucified and put to 
death . . . who had really been raised from the 
dead." And Ignatius in his next chapter formally op- 
poses the opinion thus stated to those of the unbe- 
lievers, who maintained that He only appeared to suf- 

o Jerome, Adv. Lvciferum, 23. 


fer. 21 The Docetism attacked by Ignatius may have 
been associated with Judaising tendencies combated in 
Philadelphians ix. i. 22 The evidence of Jerome on the 
Palestinian origin of Docetism is favorable to this in- 

According to M. Salomon Reinach, 28 Docetism is 
far older than Ignatius ; already it is found attacked in 
the Gospels, particularly in the episode concerning 
Simon of Cyrene, who at the time when Jesus was led 
to Calvary was forced by the soldiers to carry the 
cross (Mark xv. 21 ; Matt, xxvii. 32; Luke xxiii. 26). 
Mark alone states that this Simon was the father of 
Alexander and Rufus. 24 In Reinach's view the his- 
torical character of this episode is inadmissible, in the 
first place because there is no instance of any requisi- 
tion similar to that of which Simon was the object, and 
in the next place because the condemned was obliged to 
carry the patibulum himself, and lastly because the 

21 Cp Eph. vn. 18; Smyrn. i, 2; Polycarpe, Phil., vh, p. i. A 
trace of Docetism is also found in the Gospel of Peter, where it is 
said that Jesus, when crucified, kept silent, as though He felt no 
pain. M. Reinach (Source bibhque du docetisme) has with justice 
proposed to seek the origin of this idea in the passage in Isa. 1. 7: 
"I have made my face like unto a rock." 

22 This is admitted, for instance, by W. Bauer (Die Brief e des 
Ignatius von Antioch, etc.)* 

28 Reinach, Simon de Cyrene. The criticism of Reinach by Loisy 
should be read (Revue d'Histoire et de literature religieuses> 1913). 

24 This episode is not found in the fourth Gospel. Some authors, 
such as Jean R6ville (Quatrieme toangile), consider that the evan- 
gelist has omitted it in the interest of anti-Docetism ; others, like 
Holtzmann-Bauer, believe that he was influenced by the words of 
Jesus on the necessity of carrying one's cross, or by the story of 
Isaac, who himself carried the wood for the burnt-offering. The 
fact that John has allowed other details of the Passion to be 
passed over leads us to consider it a simplification of the narra- 
tive, designed to concentrate all attention upon Jesu. The inci- 
dent is wanting also in the Gospel of Peter. (M. Goguel, Introd. 
au N.T., ii.) 


whole episode is only the illustration of the words of 
Jesus, "Whosoever will come after Me, let him take 
up his cross and follow Me." None of these three 
arguments is convincing. The requisition of Simon the 
Cyrenian was certainly not legal ; one must see in it one 
of the thousand daily annoyances the Romans did not 
hesitate to inflict on the Jews. It must not be explained 
by the compassion that Jesus would have inspired in 
the soldiers, but by the physical impossibility for Him, 
after flagellation, to carry the cross. Lastly, it is in- 
conceivable that the episode should have been sug- 
gested by words in which it is a question not of carry- 
ing Jesus' cross, but one's own cross. 

There is therefore no reason to recognize in the 
account the remains of a tradition analogous to the 
conception of the Gnostic Docetists concerning the 
crucifixion of Simon of Cyrene. If the evangelist had 
substituted Jesus for Simon, who really was crucified, it 
is not comprehensible why they should not have pushed 
the substitution to the end, but instead have preserved 
the details of the carrying of the cross by Simon. 

As for the names Alexander and Rufus, which are 
found only in Mark, these are generally explained by 
saying that these persons must have been known in 
the community in which the second Gospel was com- 
posed. 25 

Matthew and Luke neglected this detail, which had 
no interest for them or their readers. M. Reinach, 
on the contrary, considers that the names Alexander 
and Rufus were added afterwards in Mark because 
of a tradition which represented them as associates of 

28 This community was probably Roman. (Sec M. Goguel, Introd. 
an N.T., L) 


Peter. 26 But this tradition is only supported by a text 
of very recent date, "The Acts of Peter and Andrew" ; 
and if Alexander and Rufus had been persons suffi- 
ciently known to make it worth while to invoke their 
testimony (which, moreover, is only done in Mark in a 
very indirect way), it would not be intelligible that 
their names should have been omitted in the Gospels 
of Matthew and Luke. It is not legitimate, therefore, 
to dispute the authenticity of the incident of Simon 
carrying the cross of Jesus. 

The system which boldly dates back to the period 
which preceded the composition of the Gospels a 
form of Docetism for which Irenaeus is the first wit- 
ness and claims to explain the origin of the episode 
of Simon as a reaction against it, must be considered 
an arbitrary construction. The conclusion to which we 
are thus led is that there is no evidence for the exist- 
ence of Docetism older than is to be found in the 
Epistles of John and Ignatius. 

The Docetism at the beginning of the second cen- 
tury must have arisen from the same beliefs which 
inspired the theories of Gnostic Docetism. It is neces- 
sary, therefore, to see in it, not a negation of the Gos- 
pel history, but an attempt to interpret it, which in no 
degree compromises the transcendent character of the 
Saviour by representing Him as accomplishing His 
work on humanity without partaking of the frailty 
of human nature. 

A different interpretation has been proposed by M. 
Salomon Reinach, 27 who finds in Docetism an attempt 
to reconcile the Christian affirmations about Christ 

* Reinach. . 

ST M., Question* sur It docetisme (Revue Moaerniste). 


with a Jewish "X" who is the negation of the whole 
Gospel history. 

The Christians, incapable of opposing to this nega- 
tion positive proofs based upon authentic documents, 
replied that Jesus was a kind of divine phantom, a Be- 
ing ethereal and entirely spiritual, that human eyes had 
seen, and whose voice human ears had heard, but who 
could not be touched. 

To this theory M. Couissin 28 rightly objects that 
the answer to the Jewish negation would have been 
without efficacy, since the Jews denied precisely that 
which the Docetists affirmed, namely that Jesus had 
been seen and heard, either as an illusion or otherwise. 
M. Loisy observes that the answer of the Docetists 
would have been a "masterpiece of human stupidity, 1 ' 
and that "we are here in the domain of pure phantasy, 
of stark improbability, of conjecture based upon 

Indeed, the question discussed by the Docetists was 
not whether there had lived a man in the time of 
Pilate named Jesus, who acted, suffered and died, but 
the problem was to determine the nature of His mani- 
festation. Here it is that M. Reinach 29 thinks he finds 
a decisive argument in favor of his theory in the 
Epistle of Ignatius to the Philadelphians. 80 "I have 
heard certain men say," writes Ignatius, "if I do not 
find (a certain thing) in the archives, I do not believe 
in the Gospel. And as I replied to them : It is written 
(in the Old Testament), they answered: That is the 

28 P. L. Couissin, Quelques reflexions sur la lettre de M. Reinach, 
Revue Modernutc, reproduced by Reinach. 

29 Reinach, St. Ignace et le Docetume. 

M. Reinach's translation is given. The text of the passage is 
not certain. For basis of discussion we accept that of M. Reinach. 


very question.' But for me the archives are Jesus 
Christ, His cross, His death, His resurrection, and 
the faith which comes from Him." 

It is generally understood that Ignatius in this pas- 
sage replies to those who demanded proofs drawn from 
the Old Testament before they accepted the affirma- 
tions of the Christian faith. He declares that these 
proofs exist, and as his adversaries dispute their value, 
he appeals to what is for him the supreme demonstra- 
tion, Jesus Christ. In M. Reinach's view the archives 
referred to in the first part of the phrase are those of 
Csesarea, the capital of Palestine. Ignatius had to deal 
with "a critical school, which, demanding documents 
concerning the terrestrial life of Jesus, and seeking 
these vainly among the archives, annoyed Ignatius with 
its negations.' 1 These critics are also aimed at in 
Ephesians (xix) where Ignatius says that the prince 
of this world had no knowledge either of the virginity 
of Mary or of the death of the Lord. 

If this critical school of Antioch had existed, it 
would be inexplicable that its arguments have not been 
used again by later controversialists. But that is not 
all. If the word "archives" can be rigorously applied 
to the archives of Caesarea, it holds none the less that 
Ignatius thinks he replies to the demands of his op- 
ponents in proving that the facts referred to are at- 
tested by the Old Testament, for the words "It is 
written" cannot, as M. Reinach recognizes, refer to 
anything except the Old Testament. His opponents 
do not deny that the proof offered by Ignatius, if it 
were really furnished, would be convincing. They only 
doubt that it is really given. If they had insisted on 
documents from archives, why should they have been 


able to content themselves with scriptural proofs? 
There must be some correspondence between the de- 
mand and the answer. If Ignatius were dealing with 
persons requiring documentary proofs of the Gospel 
history, why should he not have attempted to give 
them? In ignoring the question he would have given 
his opponents a manifest proof of feebleness. It ap- 
pears, as M. Loisy admits, that it was not the Doce- 
tists, but the Judaising Christians who, while admitting 
in their generality the evangelical facts, disputed the 
interpretation that Ignatius gave of them. The con- 
clusion we reach is therefore quite clear : The Doce- 
tists did not contest the Gospel history. They were 
Christian idealists, attached above all to the notion 
of the divinity of Christ and the celestial character of 
His person, who attempted to give it an interpretation 
harmonizing with their ideas. So understood, Doce- 
tism was only able to develop in the soil of evangelical 
tradition. If the Docetists had had the slightest rea- 
son to think that Christ was no more than an ideal 
person without historical reality, they would not have 
expended such treasures of ingenuity to give an inter- 
pretation of His story which cut Him off completely 
from too intimate contact with humanity. The Doce- 
tists thus appear as witness to Gospel tradition. 




THE canon of Muratori, a Roman document of the 
second half of the second century, states that what the 
apostle Paul wrote to the Christians of a particular 
church is meant for all (omnibus dicit). This is the 
conception which inspired the canonization of the 
Epistles, and which has prevailed, but it was certainly 
not with the idea that his letters would become ele- 
ments of a sacred collection that the apostle wrote 
them. It is only by a kind of transposition at times 
not without prejudice to their true spirit that these 
letters, which spring spontaneously from a sensitive 
personality, whose emotions, enthusiasms and indigna- 
tion they reveal, have been changed into encyclicals or 
dogmatic treatises and interpreted in the style of a 

Deissmann has maintained that it is a radical mis- 

We consider the letters of Paul as authentic with the exception 
of that to the Ephesians and the Pastorals (i and 2 Tim. and 
Titus). This conception, generally admitted to-day, will be vin- 
dicated in Book IV of our Introduction. The majority of those 
who deny the historical character of Jesus repudiate the testimony 
of Paul's Epistles. M. Couchoud is the sole exception. The position 
of Drews is uncertain. Nevertheless, he takes some account of their 
testimony not, it is true, without dismissing (as interpolated) 
certain important texts, such as i Cor. xi. 33 et seq. (See Die Chris- 
tutmytht, i, p. iai, by Drews.) 



take to consider the Epistles of Paul as literary works, 
for they were only written as substitutes for conversa- 
tions which distance rendered impossible. They are 
not in the technical sense of the word "Epistles" 
that is, works which in an epistolary form are intended 
for a larger public in time and space than those to 
whom they are addressed, and treat of questions which 
might just as well be the object of a dissertation or a 
book. To thoroughly understand the Epistles of Paul 
it is necessary to forget the halo which for eighteen 
centuries has surrounded them, but which, while glori- 
fying, distorts them. They are writings adapted to 
circumstances, improvised hastily between two jour- 
neys, dictated in the evening after a day devoted to 
manual work or to preaching, to meet some unfore- 
seen circumstance, to solve some difficulty, to give 
instruction or warning, or to prevent a misunderstand- 
ing. Each one of them answers to some complex situa- 
tion, which, having disappeared, the main reason for 
its existence has disappeared also. Further, there ap- 
pears no trace of any custom on the part of the 
churches of the apostolic age of regularly reading the 
Epistles of Paul. They were communicated to the 
assembly when they were received ; perhaps they were 
read again as it happened, so long as the question 
which had dictated their composition was not settled, 
but afterwards they were simply preserved in the 
archives, and that, it appears, with but little care. 
Many of these letters have disappeared, and among 
those preserved to us several seem to have undergone 
various alterations. When in Thessalonians (i, v. 
27) Paul writes, "I charge you in the name of the Lord 
that this epistle be read unto all the Brethren," he 


merely requests that all may be informed of his mes- 
sage, and in no wise thinks of a second reading. To the 
Colossians Paul writes: "When this letter is read 
among you, cause that it be read also in the church 
of the Laodiceans, and that ye likewise read the epistle 
from the Laodiceans" (Col. iv. 16). The apostle is so 
far from the idea of a regular reading that he speaks 
of the dispatch, not of a copy, but of the original itself. 
There is nothing more unsound than to see in the Paul- 
ine Epistles theological treatises. Therefore complete 
expositions of the faith or system of thought of the 
apostle must not be sought in them. Written for those 
who had received his teaching, they lay stress upon 
what these persons knew, and proceed very often by 
allusions to what he had taught and the common tra- 
dition of Christianity. The fundamental doctrines are 
not more systematically treated than the facts upon 
which they rest. The initiates to whom they were ad- 
dressed knew both, and had no need to have them 


Through the narratives in the book of Acts (vii. 58, 
viii. 1-3, ix. i, 2), and particularly through the narra- 
tive of Paul himself ( i Cor. xv. 9 ; Gal. i. 13, 23 ; Phil, 
iii. 6), we know that before his conversion Paul was a 
bitter persecutor of the Christians. It is scarcely prob- 
able that the future apostle ever saw Jesus Himself, 
in spite of the passage in which he says: "If even we 
have known Christ after the flesh, we know Him no 
more" (2 Cor. v. 16). The words "after the flesh" 


may as well belong to "we know Him no more" as to 
"Christ." It is therefore possible to understand this 
as "we have known Jesus during His earthly life," or 
"we have had a carnal and Judaic conception of the 
Messiah." Even if the first of these two interpreta- 
tions is to be preferred, account must be taken of the 
hypothetical element contained in the phrase. Paul 
appears to allude, in order to contest its value, to a 
privilege of which certain of his opponents boasted. 
In this passage merely an hypothesis is outlined. It 
must be added that if Paul had known Jesus he would 
have been among His enemies. Why should he who 
accuses himself of persecuting the disciples not have 
said that he had fought against the Master Himself? 2 
It was in the period which immediately followed 
the drama of Calvary that Paul must have come into 
contact with Christianity. 8 Even if it be supposed that 
the disciples of Jesus had only seen in Him, during His 
ministry, a prophet or a doctor, it is impossible to hold 
that after the Passion they remained grouped together 
in His name without attributing to His personality a 
quite peculiar value. They must have been led to see 

2 Among the critics who believe that Paul had seen Jesus we may 
name Sabatier, Joh Weiss, Machen. The opposite opinion is held by 
Renan, Wellhausen, Feme, Prat. Some few writers, like Pfleiderer, 
consider the question insoluble (Das Urchnstenttsm). 

8 The time when Paul came into contact with Christianity cannot 
be very much after the Passion We consider that Jesus must have 
died at Easter, in the year 28, and that the conversion of Paul 
must be placed at the end of 29 Concerning the fixing of these 
two dates see my works Essai sur la Chronologic Paulintenne and 
Notes d'histoire evangehgue' Le probltme Chronologique. While 
pursuing an entirely different method from that I have followed, 
Meyer ends by putting the death of Jesus in 27 or 28 and the 
conversion of Paul in 28 or 29. 


in His death the realization of a plan conceived by God 
for the salvation of humanity. We do not know how 
far Christology had developed before the conversion 
of Paul. It suffices to explain his sentiments and the 
attitude which they imposed upon him to know that 
the Christians continued to invoke Jesus, and to con- 
sider Him as one sent from God. 

Saul of Tarsus to give him the name by which he 
seems to have been known in the Jewish world was 
then a young Rabbi, full of fanaticism and zeal for the 
Law. He must have been profoundly scandalized by 
the attitude of men who proclaimed themselves dis- 
ciples of a madman whose pretensions had been con- 
demned by the Sanhedrin, the supreme Jewish tribunal, 
and who had perished at the hands of the Roman au- 
thorities. The attitude of Paul is characterized by the 
phrase he was to employ later on: "Christ crucified, a, 
scandal to the Jews" ( i Cor. i. 23 ; cp. Gal. v. 1 1 ) . It 
epitomizes at once his experiences as a missionary to 
the Jews and his personal feelings before he was yet a 
Christian. His thought was dominated by the princi- 
ple of the Law, which he recalls in his Epistle to the 
Galatians, "Cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree" 
(Gal. iii. 13; cp. with Deut. xxi. 23). In permitting 
Him to die this infamous death, God Himself had pro- 
nounced against Jesus, and declared Him accursed. 
Those therefore who declared that this accursed one 
was the Son of God, the promised Messiah of Israel, 
were guilty of an appalling blasphemy. Wellhausen 
has supposed that, taught wisdom by hatred, Paul 
from this time recognized in Christianity a doctrine 
whose development would ruin Judaism. To admit 
this would be to misunderstand Paul's fanaticism and 


the depth of his faith in the destiny of Israel. It is 
still more rash to suppose, as does Pfleiderer, that the 
things which Paul knew and heard concerning Jesus 
exercised upon him a secret attraction, and that he 
was impressed by the spectacle of the lives of the 

That would have been the spur for him to kick 
against, 4 the secret anxiety which he would have wished 
to silence by persecuting the Christians. That Paul, un- 
known to himself, may have been influenced by Chris- 
tianity in the Jewish period of his life is, a priori, very 
plausible, but that he was at all conscious of it appears 
less likely. The testimony which he gives of himself 
when speaking of the persecutions directed by him 
against the Christians does not permit any doubt of 
the sincerity of his motives. The explanation of his 
attitude is more simple. Paul considered the Christians 
blasphemers and sacrilegious. Now blasphemy and 
sacrilege, in antiquity, were not sins which it belonged 
alone to God to judge; they were crimes which ex- 
posed the nation to the risk of divine anger. In this 
respect the judicial authorities had to take cognizance 
of them, and it was part of the duty of every one to aid 
them, and if need be to stimulate their zeal. An impor- 
tant consequence flows from this fact; it is that the 
cross had dominated the period of Paul's antagonism 
to Christianity, just as later it was to dominate his 
Christian thought. Paul the persecutor and not only 
Paul the Christian thus appears to us as a witness to 

*Acta xzvi. 14. If this detail is authentic, it is astonishing that 
it is only met with in one of the three narratives in the Acts. 
Moreover, we do not believe that these narratives can be taken to 
be rigorously historical, although sometimes, and especially in recent 
times, their value has been too much depreciated. 


the cross, and this also within the few months which 
followed the day of its erection on Calvary. 

Here is a decisive objection against the doctrine that 
the entire Gospel history has been deduced from a 
theory or from a preexisting myth and, if the word 
is allowed, from the supernatural life of an ideal 
Christ of whom the experiences of Peter and the 
primitive Christians were the initial manifestations. 


Notwithstanding the opposition (exaggerated by 
the Tubingen school, nevertheless real) which existed 
between the apostle Paul and the Jerusalem Christians, 
who remained more attached to Judaism and its tra- 
ditional ritual than he was himself, there existed with- 
in primitive Christianity a fundamental unity. Paul 
was conscious of it when summing up the essentials 
of Christian teaching. He said : "Therefore whether 
it were I or they (the apostles at Jerusalem) so we 
preach and so ye believed" (i Cor. xv. n). Upon 
their side the Jerusalemites had confirmed this unity 
in offering Paul the hand of fellowship and in recog- 
nizing that he had received the mission to preach the 
gospel to the pagans (Gal. ii. 7-10). How is it possi- 
ble to explain this fundamental unity of Christianity if 
at its origin there only existed conceptions relating to 
an ideal Christ and to His spiritual manifestations? 
Paul insists in the most formal way that his conversion 
took place without direct contact with the Jerusalem 
church. He declares himself "Paul, an apostle, not 
of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ and God 


the Father, who raised him from the dead" (Gal. i. 
i ) . How is it possible to reconcile this absolute inde- 
pendence of Christianity and the apostleship of Paul 
with the unity of primitive Christianity unless by the 
fact that the apostle recognized in the activity of the 
celestial Christ, to whom he attributed the birth of his 
faith, the continuation and consequence of the histor- 
ical ministry of Jesus to which the Christianity of the 
Twelve and the Jerusalem church owed its origin? 



Before examining the testimony that the apostle 
Paul renders directly to the evangelical tradition, it 
will be convenient to point out two facts which prove 
that the Pauline Christ is indeed a real human person- 
ality. On two occasions the apostle speaks incidentally 
of James and other brothers of the Lord (Gal. i. 19; 
I Cor. ix. 5). In neither of these two passages is it 
possible unless the text be distorted in an inadmissible 
manner, 5 to give to the word "brothers" any other in- 
terpretation than that which belongs to it in its natural 
sense. 6 There were then in the Jerusalem church (Paul 
knew it, and the churches of the Diaspora were not 

5 There can be no reason to see in the phrase "brother of the 
Lord" the designation of an ecclesiastical function or title, first 
because it would be a conjecture resting upon no foundation, and 
secondly because it would not be possible to differentiate this 
function from the apostolate, with which, nevertheless, it could not 
be identified. 

6 If, as is done by Catholic exegesis, there were given to the 
phrase "brothers of Jesus" the meaning of half brothers (sons of * 
premier marriage of Joseph) or of cousins of Jesus, the force of 
our argument would not be seriously affected. 


ignorant of it) men who passed for being the brothers 
of Jesus according to the flesh. 

How can this well-established fact be reconciled with 
the theory that the Christ preached by Paul was a 
purely ideal personage? 7 Drews, 8 it is true, has main- 
tained that the phrase "brother of the Lord" meant 
simply member of the community, but to designate the 
faithful the apostle merely said "the brothers" or 
"the brethren in the Lord," and in the passages in 
which the brothers of Jesus are referred to Paul 
names them besides other Christians, the apostles and 
Cephas, and he does not confuse them with these. In 
i Cor. ix. 5, in particular, it is remarkable that Paul, 
in speaking of the wife that he might have, says quite 
simply "sister," while he says "brethren of the Lord" 
concerning the persons to whom he compares himself. 9 

One other fact imposes a similar conclusion. Paul 
assimilates his apostleship entirely to that of the 
Twelve; he obtained, not without difficulty, the recog- 
nition of the validity of his vocation by the Jerusalem 
church (Gal. ii. i-io). He connects his apostleship, 
like that of the Twelve, with an apparition of the risen 
Christ, 10 but he must have been obliged to fight a hard 
and persevering battle to establish that he was in noth- 
ing inferior to those whom in derision he called the 
archapostles (2 Cor. xi. 5 and xii. n). The latter, 
or at any rate their partisans, must have maintained 
that Paul lacked a qualification of which his rivals could 

i There is also a reference to the brothers and sisters of Jesus 
in Mark iii. 31; Matt. xii. 46, xiii. 55; Luke vai. 19; John ii. i, 
rii. 3-5; Acts i 14. 

8 Drews, Die Christusmythe, 5, pp. 125-27. 

Joh. Weiss, Jesus von Nazareth. 

10 This follows by comparing z Cor. ix. z and z Cor. xv. 8. 


boast. It was impossible to question either the qualifi- 
cations of Paul from the Judaic point of view (Phil, 
iii. 4-6; 2 Cor. xi. 21, 22) or his services to the cause 
of the Gospel and the sufferings accepted by him for 
it 11 (l Cor. xv. 10; 2 Cor. xi. 23-33; Gal - * X 7) or 
the signs accomplished and visions obtained by him 
(2 Cor. xii. 1-12). A text in the epistle to the Gala- 
tians enables us to understand the nature of the objec- 
tion raised against the Pauline apostleship. Concern- 
ing the apostles at Jerusalem Paul said: 12 "But of 
these who seemed to be somewhat (whatsoever they 
were it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no 
man's person) for they who seemed to be somewhat 
in conference added nothing to me" (Gal. ii. 6). 

The qualification on which the Jerusalem apostles 
prided themselves and which Paul lacked, referred to 
the past. The Twelve could boast of having been 
Christians and apostles before Paul, but he in no wise 
attempted to hide the fact that he had formerly perse- 
cuted the church and that he was a late recruit for the 
Gospel. 13 On the contrary, he boasted of it as some- 
thing to be proud of (i Cor. xv. 8-10), because he 
considered it a manifest proof of the intervention of 
God in his life. 

What could this former qualification of which the 
Jerusalem apostles boasted be, other than that they 
had been witnesses and associates of the historical 

" The marks referred to in Gal. vi. 17 are in all probability the 
scars from blows received in the service of Christ. 

12 There are three designations of the Jerusalem apostles employed 
in the Galatians, It appears that Paul alludes to a current designa- 
tion of the apostles of which it is no longer possible to find the 

18 This explains why in z Cor. v. 16 Paul seems to deny any 
value in the fact of having known Jesus. 


ministry of Jesus? The controversies between Paul 
and Jerusalem apostles thus establish that the latter 
boasted of having been witnesses of the life of Jesus 
a fact which Paul did not contest. 


In the opening salutation of the Epistle to the 
Romans Paul speaks of "Christ Jesus, born of the 
seed of David according to the flesh, as God had an- 
nounced in advance by the prophets in the holy scrip- 
tures" (Rom. i. 2, 3). In M. Couchoud's view 14 it 
follows from this passage that the human (or ap- 
parently human) life of Jesus was not told, but re- 
vealed to Paul, and that by prophecies. The fact that 
the apostle thought he recognized concordance between 
the history of Jesus and certain prophecies does not 
prove that the history has been deduced from the 
prophecy. 15 But this is not all. Two announcements 
are made in the phrase before us one is the existence 
of Jesus, the other asserts His descent from David. 
The Davidic origin asserted by Paul on the faith of 
prophecies gives Jesus a human lineage. The notion of 
the Davidic origin of Jesus appears to have a theologi- 
cal source. The Gospels record no word of Jesus which 
supports it. It is merely implied in certain episodes to 
which no great importance can be attached. 16 The 

"Couchoud, Le Mysore de Jhus, p. 131. 

1 5 We shall return in a later chapter to the relations between the 
prophecy and evangelical history. 

16 We put aside two genealogies, which are, besides, not con- 
cordant, found in Matt. i. 1-16 and Luke iii. 23-38. Both presume 
the Davidic origin of Jesus, but they are recent elements of the 
tradition wanting in Mark. 


blind man, Bartimeus, addressed Jesus once as "J csus 
Son of David," and on another occasion as "Son of 
David," according to Mark (x. 47, 48) and Luke 
(xviii. 38, 39), while Matthew has on both occasions 
simply "Son of David." 17 In the narrative of the entry 
into Jerusalem, organized to fulfill the prophecy of 
Zechariah (ix. 9), the mention of David in the popular 
welcome does not occupy the same place in Mark (xi. 
9) and in Matthew (xxi. 9), and is lacking in Luke 
(xix. 38), which requires us, at any rate, to consider 
its authenticity as not certain. 18 One single idea re- 
mains from study of these texts, and that is, consid- 
ering Jesus in a more or less vague manner as the 
Messiah, He was sometimes spoken of as the Son of 
David. But there is nothing to show that Jesus Him- 
self accepted it, and still less that He claimed this title. 
On the contrary, in a remark whose authenticity is be- 
yond question, 19 Jesus appears to oppose the notions of 

17 It is the same in the narrative of Matt, ix 27, which is only 
a variant of the story of Bartimeus. We do not attach much 
importance to Matt xv. 22, where the Canaanitish woman calls 
Jesus "Lord, Son of David," because a comparison with Mark 
ihows that there is only a literary development involved, nor of 
Matt. xii. 23, where Jesus, having cured a blind and dumb demoniac, 
some of the bystanders ask, "Is not this man the Son of David?" 
because this narrative is an editorial element which offers the starting 
point supposed by Mark of the accusation of possession brought 
against Jesus 

18 The text of Zechariah contains no allusion to a Davidic Messiah. 

19 It is so because the text goes directly counter to the concep- 
tion of a Davidic Messiah universally received in the Church since 
Paul. In the ancient Church only one exception can be found. It is 
in the Epistle of Barnabas (xii 10), which is directly dependent on 
our text, and dominated by the idea of a supernatural birth. It 
should also be pointed out that the fourth Gospel appears to know 
of the idea of the Davidic descent, but as an objection to the 
Messiahship of Jesus. It does not appear that the evangelist (who 
holds Jesus to be a Galilean) makes a reply to the objection (vii. 42). 


the Messiahship and the Davidic origin one against the 
other. In the Temple Jesus asks : "How is it the scribes 
say that Christ is the Son of David? David himself, 
inspired by the Holy Spirit, says, The Lord said unto 
my Lord, Sit Thou upon My right hand until I make 
Thine enemies Thy footstool.' David himself calls 
Him his Lord how then can He be his son?" (Mark 
xii. 35-37, Matt. xxii. 41-46, Luke xx. 41-44). 

In the context, as we read it, this question appears to 
be a subtle problem propounded by Jesus to the Scribes, 
and which they were not prepared to solve. It is to 
some extent an argument ad hominem. But it is doubt- 
ful, in spite of the opinion of some exegetists, 20 that 
we have here only a flash of wit. The text has a wider 
implication. It establishes an antinomy between the 
true Messiahship that Jesus invoked and the popular 
and current notion of the Messiah, Son of David. 21 
The idea of the Davidic origin of Jesus has therefore a 
secondary character. It is a theological creation made 
under the influence of prophecies and popular beliefs. 
This tends to restrict the affirmation concerning the 
prophecies in Rom. i. 2-3 principally, if not exclu- 
sively, to the words "born of the seed of David.' 1 

The fact that, either by Paul or by others before 
him, the notion of the Davidic origin had been intro- 
duced into Christology is not without importance. The 
Jewish Messianic conception oscillated between two 

*Zahn (Das Ev. des Matthau*), Wohlcnburg (Das Ev. d. 

21 This is admitted (with various reservations, varying according 
to their opinion concerning the question of the Messianic conscious- 
ness of Jesus) by Wellhausen, Wrede, Loisy. Klostermann and 
Job. Weiss think the passage only criticizes the Jewish conception 
of the Messiah. Lagrange thinks that Jesus only wishes to show it* 


poles : the idea of a transcendent and celestial Messiah 
to come with power to execute the judgments of God, 
and that of a human Messiah, a king of the race of 
David, for whom and by whom the national monarchy 
of Israel would be restored. The first conception is 
found specially in the books of Daniel and Enoch, the 
second in the Songs of Solomon. These two concep- 
tions have sometimes been combined; they are con- 
stantly so in the Christology of the primitive Church. 
The two currents of the Messianic conception are none 
the less distinct. If the Jesus of the most primitive 
Christianity and of Paul himself had been a purely 
spiritual and celestial Being with no connection with 
humanity except an external and unreal form, why 
should the apostle have contradicted himself in con- 
necting his Messiah to a human lineage? 

In another passage M. Couchoud thinks he also un- 
derstands the inner significance of the debt of Paul 
to the prophecy of what is supposed to be an histor- 
ical tradition. The reference is to the passage in which 
the apostle, summing up the essentials of Christian 
teaching, expresses himself thus : "For I delivered unto 
you first of all that which I also received how that 
Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 
and that He was buried, and rose again the third day 
according to the Scriptures" (i Cor. xv. 3, 4). Then 
follows an enumeration of apparitions (xv. 3-8). In 
the opinion of M. Couchoud, the words "according 
to the Scriptures 11 mark the source of the knowledge. 
It follows therefore from this passage that faith in 
Jesus rests partly on the Scriptures and partly on the 
apparitions. The faith in Jesus is possible, but not the 
knowledge of Jesus implied in this faith. The apostle 


draws a parallel between "I have transmitted" and "I 
have received." 

They are facts of the same class, therefore, which 
lead us to suppose that the apostle presents himself 
as witness of a tradition. The teaching given and the 
teaching received could not be thus assimilated if on 
the one side there had been supernatural revelation or 
exegetical deduction, and on the other didactic teach- 
ing; the examination of the context confirms this first 
impression. It may be admitted with reason that the 
passage in question is, so to speak, the first rudiment of 
a confession of faith. It is unnecessary to bring in the 
narrative of the visions, which belongs to the affirma- 
tion of the resurrection, and which in its amplitude 
contrasts with the brevity of the phrase preceding. 
The account of the apparitions is added to the epitome 
of the faith as a confirmation of the point on which 
Paul makes his entire argument depend. While three 
facts are named in the Pauline formula, the words "ac- 
cording to the Scriptures" are only found twice in it, 
and these are with reference to two facts the death 
and the resurrection which possess in Paul's thought 
a redemptive character. The words are wanting in 
respect of the burial, which has no importance in the 
Pauline theory of salvation, and which is only inci- 
dentally touched upon in the symbol of baptism (Rom. 
vi. 4 and Col. ii. 12). This proves that the formula 
"according to the Scriptures" has no bearing upon the 
facts, but upon their interpretation. What Paul knew 
from the Scriptures was not that Christ died, but that 
He died for our sins. Paul, even when he persecuted 
the Christians, knew perfectly well that their Master 
was dead; he either did not knotf or refused to believe 


that He died for sins. It was the Scriptures which, 
once he had the certitude of the living Christ in his 
inner consciousness, enabled him to understand the 
meaning of Christ's death. Similarly, if Paul believed 
in the resurrection, it was not because of the proph- 
ecies, but because of the apparition he had seen. Be- 
sides, he had read the prophecies long before he was 
a Christian, but he only discovered the resurrection 
when, in an entirely different way, the faith in the 
Christ still living, in spite of death, had developed 
within him. 

M. Couchoud 22 can only see a mystical, almost 
Gnostic, idea in the passage of the Epistle to the 
Galatians, in which Paul says that in the fulfillment of 
time "God had sent His Son, born of a woman" (Gal. 
iv. 4). In his view there is no historical reference. 
Taken alone, this text would constitute, in fact, but 
a very short and insufficient biography not even the 
outline of a life of Jesus. But does it not contain, at 
least, the idea of the historical life of Jesus? And by 
what right besides is this affirmation isolated? The 
Galatians do not separate it from the teaching in which 
the apostle retraced the story of the crucifixion in so 
vivid a manner that they had the feeling of contem- 
plating it with their own eyes (iii. i). Paul does not 
return to this part of his teaching because it was not 
contradicted by the missionaries of his opponents. Be- 
sides, the expression "born of a woman" was not in- 
vented by Paul. He borrowed it from the Old Testa- 
ment, 28 where it is used to designate man under the 
ordinary conditions of his birth and existence. The 

82 Couchoud, op. cit. t p. 130. 
28 Job xi. 3-12, adv. i, rr. 14, 


declaration of Galatians (iv. 4) would be unintelligible 
if, in Paul's view, Jesus had not lived under the ordi- 
nary conditions of humanity. 

A very special importance attaches to the long pas- 
sage of the Epistle to the Philippians, in which, in a 
way otherwise accidental, Paul epitomizes his whole 
thought concerning Christ and His work. The apostle 
writes : " Who, being in the form of God, thought it 
not robbery to be equal with God, 24 but made Himself 
of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a 
servant, and was made in the likeness of men. And 
being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Him- 
self and became obedient unto death even the death 
of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted 
Him and given Him a name which is above every 
name. That at the name of Jesus every knee should 
bow of things in heaven and things on earth and things 
under the earth, and that every tongue should con- 
fess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of the Father" 
(Phil. ii. 5-1 1). 

M. Couchoud thinks that in this passage is found the 
most ancient epitome we possess of the story of Jesus. 
It appears to him to include two elements firstly, the 
descent of the divine Being into humanity and His 
death; and secondly, His ascension and glorification. 
M. Couchoud considers that a less lyrical version of 
this myth, but one containing more details, is found in 

24 Often translated "as a usurpation." This translation does not 
seem to us permissible, because it assumes His existence in its divine 
form was equal with God AUTHOR. 

Translator's Note.Modtrn English version, based on Westcott 
and Hort's text, reads: "Though the divine nature was Hi from the 
beginning, yet He did not look upon equality with God as above 
all things to be clung to," etc. 


the Ascension of Isaiah. The prophet was caught up 
and carried away from world to world up to the 
seventh heaven. In this region he was a spectator of 
the mysterious drama which will mark the end of 
time. God commands a Being who is called the Well- 
Beloved, the Chosen One, or the Son, to descend 
through the seven heavens, the firmament, the air, and 
the earth down to Sheol, where He is to bind the angel 
of death. That His descent shall not be perceived by 
the angels inhabiting the successive worlds, the Son 
receives the power to take to Himself in each of them 
a form resembling that of the beings who dwell there- 
in. His mission accomplished, the Son ascends, this 
time in His own form, up to the seventh heaven. 
While looking upon His glorious ascension the angels 
are astounded. They ask how the descent of the Son 
of God could have escaped their perception, and they 
are obliged to glorify Him. The celestial Being then 
seats Himself at the right hand of the Supreme Glory. 

There are two questions to be successively ex- 
amined : Is the passage from the Epistle to the Philip- 
pians an Apocalyptic element, and is the myth it ex- 
presses quite identical to that we find in the Ascension 
of Isaiah? Seeing that the thesis of the affinity be- 
tween the Ascension of Isaiah and the Epistle of the 
Philippians only enters in a subordinate manner into 
the reasoning of M. Couchoud, we shall first of all 
examine this point. 

What is the Ascension of Isaiah? In the form in 
which we know it, it is a fairly complex whole in which 
three principal portions are easily distinguished: 

i. A purely Jewish narrative of the martyrdom of 
the prophet Isaiah sawn asunder by order of Manasseh 


(i. i, 2, 12, and v. 1-16). It appears once to have had 
an independent existence, and to have been known in 
this form to Justin Martyr, Tertullian and Origen. 25 

2. An Apocalyptic vision about Antichrist, the de- 
cadence of the Church, and the return of the Lord. In 
its present form this portion, whose Christian origin 
is not doubtful, betrays a certain dependence as regards 
the Ascension, properly so called. It seems that this 
may be owing to editorial work, for the conception of 
the work of Christ found in the vision differs from 
that in the Ascension, and can neither be considered 
as the germ of it nor a development from it (ii. 13- 

iv. 22). 

3. The Ascension, in the exact sense of the word 
(vi. i-n, 43), is the portion which specially interests 
us. Isaiah was carried away by an angel up to the 
seventh heaven; he received an explanation of the 
descent of the Well-Beloved from the higher heaven 
down to Sheol, whence He was to reascend to the 
heaven. The prophet is afterwards a witness of the 
events which had been announced to him. 

The date of the compilation of the Ascension of 
Isaiah, in its completeness as well as in each of the 
portions which constitute it, cannot be determined with 
absolute precision. Critics are almost agreed in con- 
sidering that the Ascension (in the exact sense) can- 
not be older than the middle of the second century. It 
is even possible that it may be necessary to bring the 
date of its composition considerably later. The fact 
that Origen mentions the martyrdom as a Jewish book 
proves that he did not know the Ascension in its present 

5 Justin, Dial. c. Tryphon; Tertullian, Scorpiace, viii, De patientia, 
xiv; Origen, In. Matt., xxviii, Comm. in Matt., x. 18, etc. 


form. True, it might have had an independent ex- 
istence before its incorporation into the book as we 
read it. The amount of Christian retouching which it 
has undergone (especially the eleventh chapter) is 
favorable to this hypothesis. 

But even supposing the Ascension not anterior to the 
middle of the second century, the ideas which are de- 
veloped in it might date back to an older period. In- 
deed, it appears necessary to distinguish in the Ascen- 
sion between a fundamental myth that concerning 
the descent of the celestial Being and a Christian inter- 
pretation given of it. This compound of two elements 
explains certain peculiarities of the book. For in- 
stance, the Well-Beloved receives the command to 
transform His image into that of the beings inhabiting 
various spheres of the universe, so that He may arrive 
without difficulty at Sheol, where He is to despoil the 
angel of death (ix. 16), but He does not pursue His 
descent in a straight line (if it may be so expressed), 
and when He arrives on earth 2G He has need of the in- 
tervention of Satan in order that He may reach Sheol. 
Satan raises the jealousy of the Jews against Him, and 
causes them to put Him to death (xi. 19-2 1 ) . 27 This 
compound of two dissimilar elements is to be noted in 
another matter. The triumph of the Well-Beloved is 
attained through the power He receives to transform 
Himself while traversing the different spheres of the 
universe. It is not stated that, having reached Sheol, 

26 He only attains to this through a supernatural birth (xi 2-14), 
which is an evident embellishment, and by which the narrative is 
related to recent Apocryphal legends. 

27 The incoherence betrays itself by an embellishment. In xi. 19 
the Well-Beloved, crucified through the action of Satan, descends to 
die angel of SheoL In xi. 20 Isaiah sees Him hung on the cross. 


He wages battle with the angel of death. It appears 
that the latter is incapable of resisting the Chosen One, 
and is conquered at the instant the Lord reaches Him. 
After this victory the Well-Beloved, recognized by all 
the angels, judges and annihilates the princes, angels 
and gods of this world and the world over which they 
have dominion. He ascends in glory, and sits down 
at the right hand of God (x. 12-15). The triumph 
of the Chosen One is therefore attained by his ascen- 
sion. This idea is quite different from the Christian 
conception, according to which the judgment and anni- 
hilation of the powers hostile to God is the work of 
Christ returning from the heavens to His second com- 
ing, and not of the Lord ascending to heaven after the 
resurrection. There is thus recognizable behind the 
Christian interpretation which dominates the present 
form of the Ascension of Isaiah a myth of the reestab- 
lishment of the sovereignty of God by a divine being 
who descends into Sheol to despoil the angel of death, 
and afterwards ascends gloriously to the heavens. It 
is possible that the myth may be older than Chris- 
tianity. 28 

28 It docs not appear to us that there is any direct contact between 
Paul and the Ascension of Isaiah Outside the idea of the descent 
of a celestial Being, which has a general character, and that of 
the ignorance of the angels, developed in both in very different 
ways, there are only two ideas in common, but which are found 
elsewhere, and these are the idea of celestial garments and that of 
the superposed spheres, or heavens. But Paul is only carried away 
to the third and not to the seventh heaven, as Isaiah. In the Ascen- 
sion the five first heavens belong to the lower world, while Paul 
has the feeling of having been carried away to a higher world. 
In Paul the revelation takes place by audition of ineffable words. 
In the Ascension it is by visions commented upon. Paul cannot 
repeat what he heard. Isaiah relates his vision to Hczekiah and 
to other prophets. (Compare 2 Cor. r. a, xii. a, and Aac, iv. 16, 
viii. 14.) 


There is a certain affinity between this myth and 
the idea dominating the Christological development of 
the Epistle to the Philippians, but while in Paul's 
thought Christ divests Himself of something, in the 
Ascension of Isaiah He merely transforms Himself. 
The development of the Epistle to the Philippians 
cannot have been from the myth, because (the nega- 
tive determination in which the development of the 
myth begins is a proof of it) the work of Christ is 
described by Paul in opposition to another myth, in 
which there is recognizable the story of Satan, who de- 
sired to raise himself to supreme power and to claim 
for himself the adoration of men and angels, and who 
as a consequence of this rebellion must be annihilated. 
The correspondence between the work of Satan and 
that of Christ is not, however, complete, since to Jew- 
ish thought the idea of an incarnation of Satan was 

The relation between the myth of Satan and the 
Christological drama as Paul conceives it is therefore 
not one of simple and direct dependence. Paul has 
simply interpreted the story of Jesus by a doctrine 
formulated in opposition to the Satanic myth. 

It would only be possible to see in the Christological 
development of the Epistle to the Philippians the old- 
est form of the history of Jesus if this portion had 
been written to make the Church known to persons 
who had never heard it spoken of which is certainly 
not the case. 

The incidental manner in which the development 
proceeds would alone suffice to prove it, even if we 
did not already know that the Epistle is addressed to 
Christians to whom it may perhaps be necessary to ex- 


plain the importance of the work of Christ, but super- 
fluous to rehearse its history. Replaced in its histor- 
ical setting, the text of Paul is an attempt to epitomize 
the history of Jesus in one grand drama of redemption. 
That it contains dogmatic elements or, if you prefer 
it, mythical elements is undeniable, but these elements 
do not make up the substance of the story ; they serve 
as comments on it, and supply the materials for the 
speculative construction erected upon the foundation 
thus furnished. 

Attention must be called to an idea borrowed from 
Judaism by Paul, and which in his eyes possesses cap- 
ital importance that of preexistence. The conception 
of the preexistence of souls is found distinctly in certain 
Jewish texts, 29 but more distinctly still that of the pre- 
existence of the Messiah. 80 Paul affirms the preex- 
istence of Christ not only when, in the Epistle to the 
Colossians (i. 15), he speaks of Christ's part in cre- 
ation, but also when he uses such terms as the "man 
from heaven" (i Cor. xv. 47, etc.), or again, when in 
a portion of rabbinical exegesis he identifies Christ with 
the rock which accompanied the Israelites in the desert 
(i Cor. x. 4). These affirmations do not contradict 
the human and earthly personality of Jesus; they 
merely imply that humanity is unable to explain to its 
roots this personality and activity. Weinel observes 

29 Sap. Salomon (Wisdom of Solomon), Enoch zhii. 4 and Enoch 
(Slavonic) xxm 4 and xhx 2 

80 Enoch, also Esdras. Certain authors hold that in fourth Esdras 
the conception of the preexistence of the Messiah may be due to 
Christian influence. Schurer justly remarks against this idea that 
post-Christian Judaism had, in opposition to Christianity, particularly 
insisted on the humanity of the Messiah, as proved by the declaration 
of the Jew Tryphon, reported by Justin: "We all expect a Messiah 
who will be a man born of men" (Dial., ilii. i). 


in this connection that these ideas must only be judged 
by those of antiquity, when it was habitual to explain 
the mysterious in a personality by forces belonging to 
another world. 81 Just as Paul felt that the spiritual 
Christ dwelt and lived in him (Gal. ii. 20), without for 
that reason losing consciousness of his own human per- 
sonality, so also was he able to see in Christ a celestial 
and preexisting Being without thereby forcibly de- 
priving humanity of Him. One is forced to cultivate 
the mentality of antiquity in order to understand the 
conceptions in virtue of which the theology of primi- 
tive Christianity (and especially that of Paul) at- 
tempted to explain in the person and work of Jesus that 
which surpassed the common standard of humanity. 
The notion of the Messiah furnished the idea of pre- 
existence; that of divine Sonship tended to identify 
Jesus with the hypostasis of "Wisdom" and the 
"Word." In this manner, starting from soteriology, the 
mind was quickly led to attribute a cosmological char- 
acter to Christ. But the movement of Pauline Chris- 
tology, if so it may be called, progresses from humanity 
to divinity, and not from divinity to humanity. If in 
the Epistle to the Colossians Paul develops the theme 
of the cosmological character of Christ and the idea of 
His sovereignty over all celestial beings, it is because 
those whom he addressed were fascinated by specula- 
tions concerning angels, and it was of moment to show 
them that the worship of Christ attained the realities 
of the celestial world in a manner more complete and 
efficacious than devotion paid to angels. The whole of 
this side of Pauline Christology thus appears to be 

11 The supporters of the magician Simon also believed that in 
him was incarnate "the great power of God" (Acts via. 10). 


the development of a doctrine elaborated on other 

The distinctly theological element of Pauline Chris- 
tology is not the point from which he sets out in 
thought. It is the conclusion of it. It is the result 
of an effort imposed on him in the interest of practical 
apologetics, rather than of speculative curiosity, to 
give an interpretation of the person and work of Jesus 
harmonizing with conceptions about spiritual beings 
current in his time, and with the position assigned to 
Jesus by the faith. At times Paul's thought assumes 
a character distinctly philosophic. In certain passages 
we have the impression of being in presence of a cos- 
mological theory instead of a human history. Such, 
for example, is the character presented by the portion 
of the Epistle to the Colossians (i. 13-20) where God 
is referred to as He "who has delivered us from the 
power of darkness and brought us into the Kingdom of 
His well-beloved Son." Then follows a lyrical de- 
scription of what this Son is like, "in Him we have 
redemption, the remission of sins." "For Christ is 
the very image of the Invisible God the first-born 
and head of all creation ; for in Him was created all 
that is in heaven and on earth, the visible and the 
invisible angels, archangels, and all the powers of 
heaven. All has been created through Him and for 
Him. He was before all things, and all things unite 
in Him; and He is the head of the Church, which is 
His body. The first-born from the dead, He is to the 
Church the source of its life, that He in all things 
may stand first. For it pleased the Father that in 
Him the divine nature in all its fullness should dwell, 
and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself 


(making peace by the shedding of Christ's blood 
offered upon the cross) whether on earth or in 
Heaven.' 1 " 

The conception developed in this passage, where 
Christ appears as a divine Being, almost an hypostasis, 
closely resembles that found in Philo, and is certainly 
related to it. Are we to conclude that the Christ 
of Paul is an ideal Being like the Logos of Philo? 
It does not seem necessary, for the ancient mentality 
saw no contradiction between the human character of 
a person and his divine character. One example of the 
association of the two concepts is given us by the fourth 
evangelist, who means to relate the story of a man who 
has lived on earth, and whom he identifies with the 
creative Logos. 

The case of the Epistle to the Colossians is quite 
analogous; and if the historical side of the person of 
Jesus is only touched upon by the mention of the 
cross, this is explained entirely by the character of 
the Epistle. M. Couchoud considers as quite decisive 
in favor of the nonhistorical theory the passage in 
which Paul speaks of the wisdom of God, "that none 
of the great ones of this world had known, for if they 
had known it, they would not have crucified the glori- 
fied Lord" (i Cor. ii. 8 ) . M, Couchoud 8S finds that it 
follows from this text that those who crucified Jesus 
were mythical beings, not persons of flesh and bone, 
and that the drama consequently took place between 
heaven and earth, in an Apocalyptic atmosphere. 

2 Translator's Note. This passage is taken from the Twentieth 
Century New Testament, translated from original Greek into Modern 
English (Westcott and Hort's text). 

M Couchoud, op. cit. t p. 132. 


And to prove that we are certainly dealing here 
with a mythical theory, M. Couchoud points to the 
analogy that exists between our passage and the Ascen- 
sion of Isaiah, where it appears that if the angels 
had perceived the descent of the Son of God, they 
would have opposed it, and would have hindered the 
accomplishment of His work. They, however, did 
not collaborate in any way. The part played by them 
was entirely negative and unconscious. 84 But, on the 
contrary, according to Paul, when the archons crucified 
the Lord, they were not ignorant that He was the 
Savior, 85 but they did not know the divine plan, nor 
did they realize that the death of Christ would cause 
their own annihilation. The two concepts differ so 
much that one cannot have been deduced from the 
other ; they have only a very general theme in common, 
that of the demon deluded. It is consequently illegiti- 
mate to interpret the indication given by Paul in an 
incidental way by the theory developed in the Ascen- 
sion of Isaiah. But there is more than this. It is 
doubtful if Paul attributes to the archons anything 
more than responsibility for the death of Christ. 
There is easily to be recognized in them the seventy 
angels to whom, according to an idea particularly de- 
veloped in the book of Enoch, God has confided the 
government of the world. 86 They direct the nations 

84 The passage referring to the crucifixion belongs, as we have 
een, to a Christian modification (Asc xi. 19). 

85 At any rate, Paul does not say that the archons were ignorant 
of who was Christ We cannot accept the interpretation of Dibelius, 
that Paul, like the author of the Ascension of Isaiah, thinks the 
archons were ignorant of who Christ was. 

88 Enoch (Ixxxix. 59) There is also a reference in the book of 
Daniel to an angel of Persia, who fought with Michael, the angel 
of the people of Israel (see Dan. x. 13-20). 


and inspire their actions.* 7 In saying that they had 
crucified the Lord, Paul does not appear to have 
thought of anything other than the crucifixion of Jesus 
by men, but by men whom he considers as agents of 
demoniacal powers. This conception is in all points 
similar to that found in the fourth Gospel, where Jesus 
is arrested by the cohort and tribune (guided by Judas, 
into whom Satan had entered) , judged, and condemned 
by Pilate at the instigation of the Jews, and finally 
crucified by soldiers. The whole drama is explained 
by the action of "the prince of this world" in other 
words, Satan (see John xiv. 30 ). 88 There is therefore, 
as Dibelius justly remarks, no contradiction between 
I Cor. ii. 8 (which holds the archons responsible for 
the death of Jesus) and i Thess. ii. 15, where it is 
stated that the Jews put Jesus to death. 

We have thus passed in review the principal pas- 
sages of the Pauline Epistles where allusions to a 
Christ myth are supposed to be found. In Paul's writ- 
ings these reveal a Christological doctrine in which 
are incorporated elements borrowed from the dogmatic 
tradition of Judaism, and even fragments of myths, 
but it is illegitimate to reduce the whole Pauline 
Christology to these, and to pass over everything which 
in the Pauline Epistles and teaching had reference to 
the historical person of Jesus and to His life on earth. 
In another chapter we shall return to the subject of 
the relation between these two elements. Let us only 
note here that this relation appears to be that between 

**They arc in any case responsible, since, according to Enoch, 
they roust be judged (xc. 22). 

8 Similarly in the Ascension of Isaiah the devil excites the 
Jews against the Well-Beloved, who crucify Him. 


admitted fact and its interpretation. Far from con- 
tradicting the historical personality of Jesus, the 
Pauline Christology would be incomprehensible if it 
had not made the historical facts its starting point. 


The Epistles of Paul contain but few allusions to the 
Gospel history, but when these are closely examined it 
is found that the apostle was much more familiar with 
the life of Jesus than a superficial reading of the 
Epistles would lead one to think. 

Paul presents Jesus as a man born of woman (i 
Cor. xv. 21 ; Rom. v. 15 ; Gal. iv. 4), belonging to the 
race of Abraham (Gal. iii. 16; Rom. ix. 5), and 
descending from the family of David (Rom. i. 3). 
He lived under the Jewish Law (Gal. iv. 4; Rom. xv. 
8). The Epistles say neither when nor where, but 
importance need not be attached to this, since it was 
only at a relatively secondary stage in the evolution of 
the tradition that it was considered necessary to es- 
tablish synchronism in the history of Jesus (Luke 
iii. i ) , 40 Paul places himself at a point of view similar 
to that of Mark. If Paul does not know the parents of 
Jesus, 41 he mentions His brothers, and gives the name 
of one of them, James (i Cor. ix. 5; Gal. i. 19 and 
ii. 9; cp. i Cor. xv. 7). 

It is impossible to decide how Paul conceived the 

*See upon this subject Maurice Goguel, VApotre Paul et Msus 
Christ, 1904. In this work will be found a bibliography to which the 
names of Joh. Weiss and P. Olaf Moc must be added. 
40 These are only indicated in relation to John the Baptist 
i In Paul's writings there is no trace of the idea of a supernatural 
birth (see Lobstein, Etudes Christologiques, 1890). 


character and moral physiognomy of the Lord. It is, 
in fact, not always possible to recognize whether the 
passages dealing with this order of ideas apply to 
Jesus or the Christ in His preexistence or His glori- 
fication, and it does not appear that the apostle made 
upon this subject a very clear distinction. However, 
even if the passage where Christ is called u He who 
knew not sin" (2 Cor. v. 21) relates to the pre- 
existent Christ, it would at least show that Paul had a 
belief in the perfect sanctity of Jesus. This, no doubt, 
is a dogmatic idea at any rate, it cannot be that the 
apostle's conception of the historical life of Jesus con- 
tradicts it. The exhortations to the imitation of 
Christ (i Cor. xi. I and Col. i. 10) imply also the 
idea of this sanctity. 

The love of Christ referred to in Rom. viii. 27, 
being presented as real, must be considered in connec- 
tion with the glorified Christ. But the gentleness and 
meekness of Christ, in the name of which Paul ex- 
horted the Corinthians (2, x. i), refer to His char- 
acter, since in this passage there is a transparent allu- 
sion to a saying of Jesus (Matt. xi. 29). Concerning 
the middle period of the life of Jesus, the Epistles 
contain but very little indeed. Nevertheless, as we 
have seen, Paul knew of the existence of apostles who 
were associated with the Master's ministry. The cross 
occupied a predominating place in the preaching as 
in the theology of Paul (Gal. iii. i and i Cor. ii. 2). 

The death of Jesus was portrayed as an act of 
obedience towards God and of love towards men 
(Phil. ii. 8 and Gal ii. 20). It was brought about 
by the enmity of the Jews (i Thess. ii. 15) and 


through the ignorance of the celestial archons who 
directed them. Paul is aware that Jesus passed the 
evening preceding His death with His disciples, and 
that it was during this last meal that He instituted 
the Lord's Supper (i Cor. xi. 23). We shall return 
to this testimony. Does it also imply that Jesus was 
betrayed by one of His followers? This cannot be 
determined with certainty, for the term employed may 
just as well signify "betrayed" as "delivered over 
to death." It has sometimes been believed that the 
execution of Jesus is indicated in the passage in which 
the apostle assimilates the death of Christ to the sac- 
rifice of the paschal lamb ( I Cor. v. 7). We shall see 
later that this interpretation is far from being certain. 

At almost every page of his Epistles Paul reminds 
his readers that Jesus died on the cross. He speaks of 
His violent death (2 Cor. iv. 10), of the shedding of 
blood (Rom. iit. 25), of the sufferings He endured 
(2 Cor. i. 5, 7; Rom. viii. 17; Phil. iii. 10), of the 
exhaustion He passed through before expiring (2 Cor. 
xiii. 4), of the insults He submitted to (Rom. xv. 
3 ) . Finally he specially refers to the burial of Jesus 
(i Cor, xv. 4-8), and confirms the tradition concern- 
ing the apparitions ( i Cor. xv. 4-8 ) . 

When all these indications are grouped together the 
impression is gained that if Paul does not provide a 
coherent view of the history of Jesus, he nevertheless 
possesses one. Furthermore, and more distinctly still, 
he is a witness of the sayings of Jesus. Resch * 2 went 
much too far in asserting that there were a thousand 

42 Resch, Der Pauhnismus und die Logia Jesu. Resch has been 
criticized very severely, but justly, by Wrede and Juiicher. 


allusions to the sayings of Jesus 48 in the authentic 
Epistles. Those which are met with may be divided 
Into three groups: direct quotations, allusions suffi- 
ciently precise to authorize the admission that Paul 
had the saying of Jesus in mind, and finally reminis- 
cences almost unconscious. We shall leave aside this 
third series of allusions, which cannot be exactly 
defined, but which are far from being without signifi- 
cance, for they show how the mind of Paul was sus- 
tained by the sayings of Jesus. To reassure the Thes- 
salonians, anxious about the fate of believers who died 
before the second coming, Paul declared to them that 
at the time of the Savior's return these would be 
resurrected to join the living, and he gives this teach- 
ing "in a word of the Lord" (i Thess. iv. 15). It is 
not quite clear what it is in the teaching given which 
answers to this. The attempts which have been made 
to rediscover in the text an allusion to a known saying 
of Jesus, to a passage in the Old Testament, or to an 
Apocryphal work such as Esdras (iv.), have not suc- 
ceeded. Some writers 44 think that Paul in this passage 
speaks by revelation, and that he is writing under the 
inspiration of the Spirit. This interpretation conflicts 
with the fact that when Paul communicates any teach- 
ing which he holds was revealed to him, he expressly 
points this out (i Cor. xv. 51; 2 Cor. xii. i). The 
most natural thing is to suppose that Paul is quoting 
in this passage an agraphon, or in other words a say- 

48 Exactly 925, of which 133 are in Ephesians, 100 in the pastoral 
Epistles, and 64 in the Pauline discourses m Acts. He only arrived 
at this result by stating that a parallelism existed between Paul 
and the Logia, when the two texts compared possessed only one 
word in common. 

"Lucken, and Couchoud (Le Mysore de Jhus). 


ing of Jesus not incorporated into the Gospel tradi- 
tion. 46 In the seventh chapter of the first Epistle to 
the Corinthians Paul gives instructions to married 
people. "To those who are married," he writes, "my 
direction is (yet it is not mine, but the Master's) 
that a woman is not to leave her husband" (verse 10). 
The saying here referred to is the reply of Jesus to 
the Pharisees concerning the subject of divorce (Mark 
x. ii, 12; Matt. xix. 9), preserved in a slightly dif- 
ferent form in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. v. 
32). What gives to this citation all its importance 
is the fact that two verses farther on, considering a 
particular case (that of a Christian whose wife is not 
a believer, or on the other hand, that of a Christian 
woman married to a pagan), Paul writes: u To all 
others I say, I, not the Master." Similarly, in the 
course of the chapter, Paul says that, concerning vir- 
gins and unmarried women, he "has no command from 
the Master" (i Cor. vii. 25; cp. 40). He is content 
to give his own opinion. If the word of the Master 
was in Paul a revelation of the Spirit, as M. Couchoud 
thinks, it would be very surprising that upon a matter 
so important for the life of the Church, the Spirit 
produced no oracle. But there is more than this. In 
the place of the word of the Lord, Paul gives his own 
opinion, and he attaches great weight to it. It is not 
the opinion of an ordinary man, but that of one to 
whom the Master has given the power to be faithful, 
who can thus boast of being an authorized inter- 
preter of His thought and who possesses the Spirit. 
Notwithstanding this opinion, Paul takes good care 
not to claim an authority equal to that of the Master's 

46 Schmiedel, Dibelius, Feme. 


words. . Here is a decisive proof that it was indeed 
a word coming from Jesus that the apostle meant to 
cite, and to this word he attributes an absolute 

In the same Epistle also Paul cites a saying of 
Jesus to establish the right of those who preach the 
gospel to be maintained by the churches. 'The Lord 
has commanded," he writes, u that those who preach 
the gospel shall live by the gospel." Here is certainly 
an allusion to the words spoken at the sending forth 
of the disciples on a mission: "If ye are received in 
a house, eat and drink what is set before you, for 
the laborer is worthy of his hire" (Luke x. 7; Matt, 
x. 10). We now reach the last of the citations of 
the words of Jesus found in Paul's Epistles, and it is 
almost the most important and the most discussed 
among them. In the eleventh chapter of the first 
Epistle to the Corinthians 40 Paul, in combating the 
defective manner in which the Lord's Supper was cele- 
brated at Corinth, recalls what took place on the last 
evening of Jesus. 47 He writes : "I have received from 
the Lord . . . and I have in turn given to you." 
Many critics 48 consider that the words "I have received 
from the Lord" indicate that there was a vision at 
the origin of the tradition concerning the last supper. 
They mean "I have received" in the sense "I have it 
directly from the Lord." Other writers adopt a less 
radical opinion. Loisy 49 and Bousset 50 think that 
Paul, by a kind of autosuggestion, reached the point of 

Drews (Die Christusmythe) rejects this text as an interpolation. 
7 Maurice Goguel, L'Eucharutte des ongmes & Justin Martyr. 
"Percy Gardner, The Origin of the Lord's Supper, 1893. 
* Loisy, Les Mysteres patens et le mystire Chrttien, 1919. 
w Bousset, D. Schr. d. N.T., ii, p. 3. 


contemplating in vision the scene that tradition had 
transmitted to him. Others, like Pfleiderer 81 and 
Haupt, 52 believe that Paul obtained from a revelation, 
not the account of the last supper of Jesus, but the 
knowledge of the sacramental character and signi- 
ficance of the Eucharist 

Nothing in the text of Paul authorizes or justifies 
such a distinction. Neither can we accept the hypothe- 
sis of Lietzmann and Ed. Meyer, who suppose that 
Paul synthesized in the vision on the Damascus road 
all that he knew of Jesus. Besides, the initial vision 
did not determine Paul's knowledge of Jesus; it caused 
his faith to be born. All intermediate solutions should 
be put aside. We are in face of a dilemma: Either 
the entire tradition about the last supper possessed 
for Paul a visionary origin, or the formula, "I have 
received from the Lord," means something other than 
"I know by means of a vision." 

If there had been a vision, it would not diminish 
in the eyes of the apostle the value of the tradition it 
related. On the contrary, its authority would be the 
more increased ; it would be surprising that the apostle 
should not expressly relate a detail of a nature to 
impress his readers. 

Paul draws a very close parallel between the two 
expressions "I have received" and "I have trans- 
mitted" (or "passed on"). They are of the same 
nature, which would not be the case if on one side 
it was a case of a supernatural communication received 
by the apostle, and on the other didactic teaching im- 

1 Pfleiderer, Urchnsttntum, i. 

"Haupt, Veber die Ursprungliche Form und Bcdtutung der 
Abtndmahlswrtt, 1894. 


parted to the Corinthians. And, above all, nothing 
authorizes us to understand "I have received from the 
Lord 1 ' in the sense "I have it direct from the Lord. 11 
The preposition "apo" which the apostle here uses 
marks the first origin of the tradition, but without ex- 
cluding an intermediary. What Paul wishes to say is 
that in the last analysis tradition goes back to the Lord, 
who pronounced the words which he relates. 

When in the Epistle to the Galatians (i. i) Paul 
desires to affirm that he holds his apostleship direct 
from Christ and from God without any human inter- 
vention, he uses the two prepositions "apo" and "dia," 
which proves that he perfectly conceives an apostle- 
ship coming from God, but not through human inter- 
mediaries. The use in our passage of the single prepo- 
sition "apo" shows that the apostle only means the 
first origin of the tradition. What he means to say is 
that the narrative comes from the Lord by the inter- 
mediary of men. This detail did not require to be 
explicitly announced; for the Corinthians it was clear 
from the very position of the apostle. 

The direct study of the text and its comparison with 
the form of the tradition fixed in the Gospel of Mark 
confirms this conclusion. Doubtless the Gospel of 
Mark was only. compiled a couple of decades after the 
Epistle to the Corinthians, but the date of the com- 
pilation of a work like a Gospel must not be identi- 
fied with that of the traditions it contains. 

The two texts read as follows: Mark xiv. 22-25: 
"While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and 
after saying the blessing, broke it and gave to them, 
and said : Take it ; this is My body. Then He took the 
cup, and after saying the thanksgiving, gave it to 


them, and they all drank from it. This is My cove- 
nant blood, He said, which is poured out on behalf 
of many. I tell you that I shall never again drink of 
the juice of the grape until that day when I shall 
drink it new in the Kingdom of God." 

The first Epistle to the Corinthians, xi. 23-25 : "For 
I myself received from the Lord the account which I 
have in turn given to you how the Lord Jesus, on 
the very night of His betrayal, took some bread, and, 
after saying the thanksgiving, broke it and said: This 
is My own body, given on your behalf. Do this in 
memory of Me. And in the same way with the cup, 
after supper, saying: This cup is the new covenant 
made by My blood. Do this whenever you drink it, 
in memory of me." 58 

In order to keep to the essential points, we shall 
note the following peculiarities: 

1. Paul gives, after the passing round of the cup as 
well as after the distribution of bread, an order of 
repetition. There is none either in Mark or Matthew. 
Luke (xxii. 19) gives the order only after the dis- 
tribution of the bread. 

2. To the phrase 'This is My body," which accom- 
panies the distribution of bread, Paul adds "given 

88 For the question before us we confine ourselves to comparing the 
texts of Paul and Mark, bringing into the question Matthew only 
(xxvi 29) in a subordinate way The latter, compared with Mark 
only, offers some unimportant variations The account in Luke 
(xxii. 15-20) appears to arise from the combination of two different 
traditions. For a more detailed study see M. Goguel (UEucharistie, 
pp. 105-26), m 

Translator's Note. Verses quoted arc from text of Twentieth 
Century New Testament in Modern English, based on Westcott and 


for you," which has no equivalent in Mark or Mat- 
thew, but only in Luke. 

3. Paul has no equivalent to the words which end 
the repast found in Mark and Matthew that is to 
say, no declaration from Jesus that He would drink 
no more of the juice of the grape before drinking it 
new in the Kingdom of God. In Luke (xxii. 16) 
this phrase accompanies the distribution of a first cup. 
It must, however, be noted that in a fragment which 
appears no longer to form part of the narrative of 
the last supper, but which is really the commentary on 
it, Paul says: "For whenever you eat this bread and 
drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until 
He comes" (i Cor. xi. 26). This is a reminiscence 
of the eschatological formula which appears to con- 
stitute one of the principal elements of the Lord's 

All these peculiarities have a common character; 
they tend to assimilate the two elements constituting 
the rite to each other and to present them as a special 
institution by Jesus. They progress, therefore, exactly 
in the same way as the evolution of the rite. This 
appears to have had a double character, which at first 
was the transformation into the carrying out of a 
command of Jesus of that which at the origin had 
probably only been an instinctive repetition favored by 
the memory preserved of the last evening passed with 
Him. On the other hand, the evolution had as its 
result to form out of the distribution of the cup and 
the bread two parallel and equivalent symbols, while 
there is every reason to suppose that at the origin these 
two actions of Jesus had neither the same object nor 
the same significance. The distribution of the bread 


symbolized the gift that Jesus made of Himself to 
His followers and for His followers; the cup illus- 
trated the meeting place that He gave them in the 
Kingdom of God. Now the evolution of the texts 
must have tended continually to conform more closely 
the narratives to the rite. It is inconceivable, while 
the believer had the feeling, in celebrating the 
Eucharist, that he was repeating the actions of Jesus, 
that additions should have been made to the story 
which would have differentiated it from the rite. The 
text, then, of Paul is subordinate compared with the 
tradition preserved in Mark. Its origin is not to be 
sought in a supernatural revelation, but in an his- 
torical tradition to which Paul is the witness. 

Beyond quotations, properly so called, there are in 
Paul's writings a certain number of allusions to words 
of Jesus. It will suffice here to indicate the most char- 
acteristic : M 

I Thess. iv. 4: "Therefore he who disregards this 
warning, disregards not man, but God, who gives you 
His Holy Spirit." Compare with Luke x. 16: "He 
who listens to you is listening to Me, and he who re- 
jects you is rejecting Me; while he who rejects Me 
is rejecting Him who sent Me as His Messenger." 

Gal. iv. 17: "They wish to isolate you." Compare 
with Matt, xxiii. 13 : "But alas for you, teachers of the 
Law and Pharisees, hypocrites that you are. You 
turn the key of the Kingdom of Heaven in men's faces. 
For you do not go in yourselves nor yet allow those 
who try to go in to do so." 

84 Translator's NQU. The English versions are taken from the 
Twentieth Century New Testament, baicd on Westcott and Horf 
text from original Greek. 


Gal. vi. 2 : "Bear one another's burdens, and so carry 
out the Law of Christ." Compare with Mark ix. 33 : 
"If anyone wishes to be first, he must be last of all and 
servant of all" 

I Cor. iv. 12, 13: u We meet abuse with blessings, 
we meet persecution with endurance, we meet slander 
with gentle appeals." Rom. xii. 14: "Bless your per- 
secutors, bless and never curse." Compare with Matt, 
v. 1 1 : "Blessed are you when people taunt you, and 
persecute you and say everything evil about you 
untruly, and for My sake." Luke vi. 28 : "Show kind- 
ness to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, 
pray for those who insult you." 

i Cor. v. 4 : "Having been present in spirit at your 
meetings when the power of the Lord Jesus was with 
us." Compare : "For where two or three have come 
together in My name I am present with them" (Matt, 
xviii. 20). 

i Cor. xiii. 2: "Even though I have such faith as 
might move mountains." Compare Matt. xvii. 20: 
"If your faith were only like a mustard seed, you could 
say to this mountain, 'Move from this place to that,' 
and it would be moved." Compare Mark xi. 22, Matt 
xxi. 21, and Luke xvii. 6. 

1 Cor. xiii. 3 : "Even though I give My substance 
to the poor." Compare Luke xii. 23 : "Sell what be- 
longs to you and give in charity." Compare Mark 
x. 21 and Matt. xix. 21. 

2 Cor. x. i : "I exhort you by the meekness and 
gentleness of Christ." Compare Matt. xi. 29: "I am 
meek and lowly in heart." 

Rom. xii. 17: "Never return injury for injury." 


Compare Matt. v. 39: "I say unto you, resist not 

Rom. xiv. 14: "I know and am persuaded that 
nothing is defiling in itself." Compare Matt. xv. II : 
"It is not what enters a man's mouth that defiles 

It is impossible to do anything except speculate on 
the origin of the acquaintance that the apostle Paul 
had with the Gospel tradition. The nucleus of what 
he knew must have dated back to the period preceding 
his conversion, and have depended upon what was 
told about Jesus in the first church of Jerusalem. The 
knowledge which he possessed in his pre-Christian 
days was enriched and developed afterwards. 

The abundance of the allusions to the words of 
Jesus and the reminiscences found in the Epistles, the 
fact that Paul appears more often to allude to say- 
ings known to his readers, causes one to think he must 
have been acquainted with a collection of the sayings 
of Jesus. The majority of those to which he refers 
appear to belong to the tradition of the Logia. Hence 
one is induced to entertain the hypothesis that Paul 
must have been acquainted with a form of this col- 

The Epistles of Paul afford then precise testimony 
in support of the existence of the Gospel tradition be- 
fore him. They presume a Jesus who lived, acted, 
taught, whose life was a model for believers, and who 
died on the cross. True it is that in Paul are only 
found fragmentary and sporadic indications concern- 
ing the life and teachings of Jesus, but this is explained 
on one hand by the fact that we possess no coherent 
and complete exposition of the apostle's preaching, and 


on the other hand by the character of his interests. He 
had no special object in proving what no one in his 
time called in question namely, that Jesus had existed. 
His unique aim was to prove (what the Jews refused 
to admit) that Jesus was the Christ. 



THE oldest systematic form of Christian thought which 
we can discern is that which the Epistles of Paul 
(whose composition took place approximately between 
the years 50 and 62) makes known to us. We find 
therein a theology if not theoretically worked out, at 
any rate of very coherent character. It is important 
to examine its character and see whether it may be 
considered as a development from Jewish and Greek 
premises, or if it be necessary to its comprehension to 
bring in an historical factor the life and death of 

The fragmentary developments which we possess in 
the Epistles only deal with the essential points in the 
system; the picture resulting from their assemblage and 
combination should nevertheless with the exception 
of some unimportant details give us a fairly accurate 
sketch of the general aspect that the apostle's teaching 
must have presented. 

If Paul's was a powerful and systematic mind and 
the Epistle to the Romans alone suffices to prove it 
his teaching was not dominated by philosophic preoccu- 
pations. Paul preached a gospel and did not teach a 
doctrine. He was the bearer of a message of salva- 
tion. He desired to pluck men from perdition and 
death, and assure their access to the Kingdom of 



God, not to instruct them and reveal to them a history 
and an explanation of things. Religious affirmations 
predominate in the Epistles. But these affirmations 
presuppose a very general conception, which includes 
not only a history of humanity, but a theory of the 
world and a doctrine concerning God, celestial beings, 
and an explanation of the origin of evil, sin and 


Although the apostle's thought was rooted in the 
religious tradition of Israel, his point of view as re- 
gards divinity is sufficiently different from the radical 
and uncompromising monotheism which characterizes 
certain declarations of the second Isaiah or of Jere- 

"Then shall it be for a man to burn, for he will 
take thereof (wood) and warm himself: yea, he 
kindleth it and baketh bread; yea, he maketh a god 
and worshipeth it, he maketh it a graven image and 
falleth down thereto. He burneth part thereof (tree) 
in the fire; he eateth flesh; he roasteth roast and is 
satisfied; yea, he warmeth himself and saith, 'Aha I 
I am warm. I have seen the fire.' And the residue 
thereof he maketh a god, even his graven image 1 ' 
(Isa. xliv. 15-17; cp. Jer. x. 3-11). 

The point of view of Paul might be better styled 
"monolatry" than "monotheism." "Although there 
are," he wrote, "either in heaven or on earth many 
beings which are called gods. . . . There are indeed 
many gods and lords, yet is there for us but one God, 
the Father, from whom all things proceed (and for 


Him we live) and one Lord, Jesus Christ" (i Cor. 
viii. 5, 6). Practically at least, for him who pos- 
sesses the gnosis this formula amounts to that of 
monotheism, since Paul offers it as a commentary upon 
the other formula which the Corinthian Gnostics em- 
ployed: "We are aware that an idol is nothing in the 
world, and that there is no God but one 1 ' (i Cor. 
viii. 4). The conclusion drawn by Paul is that he 
who possesses the gnosis that is, he who knows the 
true nature of demons can enter with impunity into 
relation with them when consuming food offered to 
idols. He no longer pays them worship, and he no 
more seeks their favor than he fears their enmity. 
But those who have not yet attained this degree of 
knowledge ought to fly from communion with idols 
which for them would be pollution. 1 Paul distinctly 
declares that an idol is nothing that is to say, it is 
not a divine being. The worship paid to an idol is not 
directed to God, but to demons, and has the effect of 
putting the worshiper into direct relation with them, 
and thereby exposing himself to divine anger. There 
exist, therefore, other gods than the Unique Father 
these are the demons who, under the guise of idols, 
are adored by pagans. Idolatry is an insult to God, 
who alone has the right to be adored. In the very 
fact that they have claimed worship, the demons have 
made themselves enemies of God. Although we do 
not find in the Epistles explicit theories on this point, 
it is very probable that Paul does not explain the 
origin of demons by a fundamental and irreducible 
dualism, but by the theory of Satan, a celestial being 

1 Concerning communion with demons, see Maurice Goguel, L'Eu- 
chart f tie f p. 167. 


who rebelled against God. An allusion to this theory 
is found in the great Christological passage of the 
Epistle to the Philippians, where the attitude of the 
preexisting Christ is opposed to that of another being 
who sought to seize for himself full divinity that is 
to say, desired to impose himself upon man to be wor- 
shiped* Through the rebellion of Satan, who seduced 
away in his train a faction of celestial beings, there 
was created in the face of God an army of demons 
hostile to Him. There are the enemies referred to in 
I Cor. xv. 25, 26. The last to be conquered and 
destroyed will be Death, who is not to be imagined as 
an abstract power, but as a personality, Thanatos, 
probably identical with Satan himself. In the Epistle 
to the Hebrews, whose thought upon many points is 
closely related to Paul's, the devil is directly identi- 
fied with Thanatos in the formula, "he who has the 
power of death that is to say, the devil" (Heb. 
ii. 14). The same identification is not found formally 
in Paul. It appears, however, to be inferable from 
fairly precise indications. Paul speaks of a u god of 
this world" (2 Cor. iv. 4) who is evidently the devil, 
and on the other hand he asserts the existing world is 
subjected to the dominion of death owing to sin (Rom. 
v. 12, vi. 23; I Cor. xv. 21 ). According to I Cor. 
v. 5, the abandonment of the incestuous to the power 
of Satan will have as its consequence the destruction 
of the flesh that is, the death of the guilty one. 
According to I Cor. x. 10, the rebellious Israelites in 
the desert were delivered over to the exterminator 
(Satan), who destroyed them. 2 It follows from these 

2 "Through the jealousy of the devil, death entered the world" 
(Wisdom of Solomon). "The devil was a murderer from the first" 


passages that Satan and Thanatos are two equivalent 
terms, or, more precisely, Thanatos is Satan consid- 
ered as exercising one of his essential functions. 

Satan before his rebellion was one of the beings of 
the army of heaven. The existence of a whole hier- 
archy of beings inhabiting the heavens angels, arch- 
angels, thrones, dominions, principalities and powers 
particularly referred to in the Epistle to the Colossians 
(i. 16) has nothing in it which is contrary to the will 
and design of God. Evil comes uniquely from the 
action of these beings, who, instead of keeping the 
subordinate position appertaining to them, dared to 
rise and oppose themselves to God. Thus is explained 
the fact that the Pauline theory not only insists upon 
a disorder introduced into humanity, but also of a 
disorder within the cosmos, making necessary the re- 
demption not of humanity alone, but of the entire cre- 
ation (Rom. viii. 19-22) in other words, the 
reestablishing of the sovereignty of God ( i Con xv. 


If this notion of cosmic disorder is fundamental in 
the thought of Paul, and if the redemption of sinners 
is with him but a portion of a more general work, in 
his preaching and his Epistles it is the notion of human 
redemption which occupies the premier place. 

Looked at from the point of view of humanity, evil 
takes the form of sin. It is a state of things whose 

(John viii. 44). "Satan, the Evil One, and the Angel of Death 
are identical" (Rabbi Simon ben Lakisch). 


essential characteristic is ignorance of God, estrange- 
ment and opposition to Him (i Cor. xv. 34). Sin 
dishonors God (Rom. ii. 23); it is rebellion against 
His will and His law (Rom. ii. 8, iii. 5, xi. 30, etc.) ; 
it is also a state of weakness (Rom. v. 6, vi. 19) . Paul 
does not only conceive it as an act or series of acts, 
but as a state characterized by the subordination of 
humanity to a power hostile to God (Rom. iii. 9, v. 19, 
vi. 17-20, vii. 20; Gal. iii. 22). It is in the flesh that 
resides the power of sin, and through which it is ex- 
ercised (Rom. vi. 12, vii. 5-14* viii. 3).* Sin is 
universal. The whole beginning of the Epistle to the 
Romans is devoted to establishing this thesis, and par- 
ticularly that (contrary to an idea cherished by Juda- 
ism) the sin of the Jews does not separate them less 
from God than the sin of the pagans (Rom. ii. 1-3, 
1 8, xi. 32; Gal. iii. 21). The law, indeed, is not a 
means of escaping from the domination and conse- 
quences of sin. Its first task is to reveal it (Rom. 
iii. 20). In a certain sense it gives sin manifestation 
by transforming a tendency more or less unconscious 
into open rebellion (Rom. iv. 15, v. 13, vii. 7-13; Gal. 
iii. 22). In itself, however, the law is holy, just and 
good (Rom. vii. 12). It was designed to give life 
in showing the path to follow to obtain life, or, in other 
words, access to the Kingdom of God (Rom. vii. 10), 
but it has been disarmed and rendered impotent by the 
flesh (Rom. vii. 14, viii. 3). It is the disorder intro- 
duced into the world which has prevented the law pro- 
ducing the effects it should have done. 

* We may leave aside the question, difficult enough to answer, as 
to whether the flesh is the cause or only the seat of the sin, and 
if it is so by its very nature or as a result of a fall. 


This brings us to the question of capital importance 
in the interpretation of Paulinism the origin of sin. 
Faithful on this point to Jewish dogma, Paul seeks 
the origin of sin in the disobedience of Adam. His 
theory is expressed in the parallel between Adam and 
Jesus Christ, which appears to have been one of the 
habitual themes of his preaching, and of which we pos- 
sess two examples, both incomplete, in I Cor. xv. 
45-47, and in Rom. v. 12-21. The central affirma- 
tion is that sin entered the world through the 
disobedience of Adam (Rom. v. 17-19). This dis- 
obedience has introduced a principle which produces 
consequences even where there are no acts of rebellion 
similar to that of Adam (v. 21). Paul certainly 
conceived the disobedience of the first man according 
to the narrative in Genesis (iii. 1-19), to which he 
alludes (2 Cor. xi. 3). 

But the disobedience of Adam is only an historical 
explanation of the origin of sin. It shows when, and 
in what conditions, sin entered the world; it does not 
explain why it exists. The theory, therefore, only 
puts the problem further back; it does not solve it. 
So Paul looks at the problem again and from another 
point of view, and he indicates for it is a question 
of indications only and not of a theory systematically 
worked out how the seduction of Satan was exercised 
and what the relation is between the sin of man and 
the rebellion of Satan against God. It is in Rom. 
i. 18-32, where is to bfc found the sole passage that 
might be called a philosophy of religion, that these 
indications are met with. The starting point of the 
argument is an admission of fact. The wrath of God 
is manifested from heaven upon the injustice and im- 


piety of mankind (Rom. i. 18). How is it that men 
are thus so opposed to truth and have refused to wor- 
ship God? To this question which is, besides, not 
expressly formulated Paul replies by rejecting the 
idea of a complete ignorance of God on the part of 
man. God revealed Himself to men, but they fell into 
idolatry (i. 19-23). The punishment of this attitude 
is that God abandoned men to their passions, which 
caused them to fall into all kinds of crime and im- 
purity (i. 24-32). In the beginning there was, there- 
fore, a kind of natural knowledge of God, whose 
invisible attributes, infinite power and divinity are 
revealed in creation (i. 19, 20). But man rejected 
this knowledge of God offered to him (i. 21); he 
refused to give the worship due to God; his heart 
became hardened, and has lost itself in vain specula- 
tions. Thus came about the adoration of men and 
animals, rendering to the creature the worship which 
rightly belonged to the Creator. Idolatry is the root 
of all sin. The divine wrath which it provoked aban- 
doned man to his evil passions. These without doubt 
existed before this, but they were to some extent 
disciplined and kept under control; it was this control 
which was destroyed. Idolatry does not affect hu- 
manity alone. Paul does not conceive it as a perver- 
sion of the religious sense which substitutes imaginary 
beings for its real object. Idolaters adore demons 
that is, celestial spirits in rebellion against God. In 
idolatry we find in alliance two orders of beings in 
rebellion against God : Satan and his angels, who claim 
the worship which only belongs by right to God, and 
mankind, which consents to accord to them the wor- 
ship which it refuses to God. The second of these 


facts is a result of the first. In 2 Cor. xi. 3 it is 
shown that at the beginning of sin there was a seduc- 
tion by Satan ; it is the act whereby the demons obtained 
the worship of mankind. Human sin is thus in direct 
relation with the rebellion of Satan. Sin is thus not 
only a human fact; it is a cosmic fact; it is but one 
consequence of Satan's rebellion, one special case of 
the disorder which was thus introduced into the uni- 
verse. In fact, notwithstanding the extremely valuable 
indications which are given us in the passage in Rom. 
viii. 19-22, it is almost exclusively of the consequences 
for humanity of sin that Paul speaks. Sin involves 
death. "The wages of sin is death" (Rom. vi. 23). 
But the mechanism of this consequence, if we may so 
term it, is presented by Paul under two different 
aspects. Sometimes we meet with the idea of a kind of 
logical and necessary relation : sin breeds death. This 
takes place to some degree of its own nature and with- 
out God intervening to exact any sanction. This is 
what Paul calls "the law of sin and death" (Rom. 
viii. 2; cp. v. 12). 

In consequence of sin man has fallen under the 
dominion of death, which must reign until at the 
moment at the end of time, when it will be destroyed 
by Christ (i Cor. xv. 24, 25). But beside this, we 
find almost at every page of the Pauline Epistles the 
idea that death is the result of a judgment. The con- 
cept of judgment and the return of the Lord who will 
execute it has such precision in Paul's thought that, 
in a passage like I Cor. iv. 3, the word "day" * is 
meant in the sense of judicial authority of judgment. 
Paul writes : "We shall all appear before the judgment 

4 Day of Lord's return 


scat of God" (Rom. xiv. 10; cp. with 2 Cor. v. 10). 
With the idea of judgment must be combined that of 
the divine wrath which at the end of time will fall upon 
the guilty (i Thess. i. 10, v. 9; Rom. i. 18, ii. 5, v. 9; 
Col. iiL 6). There are thus in Paul's thought two 
conceptions. According to one, God appears as a 
Judge who executes upon sin the penalty it deserves ; 
according to the other, He is a witness, to some degree 
passive, or rather the penalty He imposes comes, not at 
the end of time, but at the very moment that sin 
appears in the world. It consists entirely in the fact 
that humanity is abandoned to the power of Satan. 
It is probably because he found these two concep- 
tions in the religious traditions of his nation that Paul 
allowed them to coexist in his mind, and that he 
perhaps was unaware of the contradiction existing 
between them. 


The disorder in the world and the corruption of 
human nature demands a work of restoration, a re- 
demption. Paul insists greatly on the idea that the 
initiative of this work belongs to God alone. "But 
all this is the work of God,' 1 he wrote (2 Cor. v. 18). 
Man here can boast of nothing. It is God who calls 

8 There is a certain amount of incoherence in Paul's thought on 
this. The Judge is sometimes God and sometimes Christ (2 Cor. 
v. 10). The first is related to the ancient Hebrew tradition of 
Yahwch (judge) ; the second is more Messianic Dialectically, the 
contradiction is resolved by the idea of God judging through Jesus 
Christ (Rom. ii. 16). In a subordinate position is found in Paul the 
idea of judgment of the world by the saints (see i Cor. vi. a). 

In his struggle with Judeo-Christianity he insists much upon the 


men to salvation 7 (i Thess. ii. 12, v. 9; I Cor. i. 9; 
Rom. viii. 28, ix. 24, xi. 32). Redemption appears at 
first as an effect of the love of God (Rom. v. 5, viii. 
39). It is also an act of the grace of God. This 
notion of grace, which holds a central position in 
Pauline thought, is, above all, a practical one. Grace, 
in the life of Paul, had been an experience before it 
became an object of his theological meditations. There 
is noticeable in him a certain lack of homogeneity 
at least in expression redemption being attributed 
sometimes to love, sometimes to compassion, some- 
times to the grace of God. This would be difficult to 
explain if we were dealing with a logically constructed 
theory, but, on the contrary, it is very readily explained 
if experience of redemption had preceded dogmatic 
reflection. Paul feels that what he is as a Christian 
and an apostle is the work of the grace of God. "By 
the grace of God," he writes, "I am what I am." He 
feels that he had undergone, at the moment of his 
conversion, a change which his former life had not 
prepared; that he was thrown outside his routine ex- 
istence ; that he had been coerced. It was this same 
force which was at work in his apostolic activity (i 
Cor. xv. 10 ; 2 Cor. xii. 9). 

Just as the Christian life of Paul in his own eyes is 
an original creation and not the resultant of earlier 
factors, so also it is that the notion of grace which 
explains it has no deep roots in Judaism. Indeed, in 
the Septuagint the word "grace" means only the ideas 

idea that the Law is impotent to effect salvation. See, for example, 
Rom. ii. 13, "i. ao; Gal. ii 16. 

7 We may leave aside the question whether He destines all to 
salvation, or a part of mankind only, and whether the fact that 
all are not saved is explicable by divine decree or by human freedom. 


of favor, benevolence, benediction, and pardon, and 
not that of a divine force which creates in man some- 
thing new. Its origin cannot be looked for in Hel- 
lenism either. In Philo's writings grace means the 
natural gifts which constitute man a reasonable being, 
but so far away is Philo from Paul's characteristic 
idea of aid accorded to a sinner, and precisely because 
he is a sinner, that the assertion is found of the eternal 
springs of grace being dried up when wickedness began 
to enter the world (De opificio Mundi). In the in- 
scriptions the term "grace" means a gift bestowed by 
the sovereign authority. 

In certain Pauline texts grace appears, without the 
thought being precisely defined, as the primary source 
of salvation (2 Cor. viii. 9, xiv. 9; Gal. i. 16). In 
others it is a divine force which seizes man, calls him, 
transforms him, justifies him in other words, makes 
of him who was condemned a ransomed being, a child 
of God. It is a power which takes possession of man 
and permeates his entire life. But its independence 
of man does not exclude the moral character of its 
action in producing a renewal and a transformation of 
the personality (Rom. iii. 24, iv. 4, xi. 5, 6; Gal. i. 15). 
Sometimes grace is hypostatized; it seems as though 
it were a personal power for example, in the parallel 
between Adam and Jesus Christ (Rom. v. 15-21) 
but this is nothing more than a 6gurative mode of 

The essential character of Pauline theology, its 
originality in comparison with Judaism, is to substi- 
tute the notion of grace for that of merit, of justice 
imputed for that of acts performed. Upon this point 
Paul is distinctly conscious of separating himself from 


the religion of his fathers. It is this opposition which 
explains the energy with which he insists upon the 
absolutely gratuitous and unearned character of sal- 
vation. However, the independence of grace has its 
limits. From the thesis he affirms with so much fer- 
vor, Paul does not draw what would seem to be the 
logical deduction namely, that the unique and all- 
sufficient cause of salvation is to be found in the pa- 
ternal heart of God. The comparison between Pauline 
thought and the teaching of the Gospel is here very 
instructive. In the parable of the prodigal son pardon 
is not subordinated to the accomplishment of any other 
condition than the repentance of the sinner that is to 
say, it depends upon no relations outside those between 
the offender and the one offended against. In Paul 
it is not the same thing. For him salvation would be 
impossible without the cross. What is the reason of 
this difference? It is not enough to say that as a 
Pharisee Paul was too much concerned to safeguard 
the holiness of God to accept the idea of a free pardon 
for sin, for besides the holiness of God, Pharisaism 
insisted also upon His omnipotence. The true reason 
is elsewhere. Paul was obliged to explain the fact 
of the death of Christ, which thus appeared as one of 
the most essential premises of his theology. From 
the necessity of this explanation arose the Pauline 
doctrine of redemption. 

In Paul's writings the pardon of God is not the effect 
of a free, spontaneous and immediately efficacious ini- 
tiative. It is subordinated to the accomplishment of 
a work of redemption. 

For Paul salvation is not only a "processus" within 
the divine, designed to conciliate love and justice. This 


order of ideas which is represented in the Pauline 
doctrine of redemption does not exhaust it. It cor- 
responds to the idea of sin conceived as a violation of 
the law of God and as rebellion against Him. But 
the divine pardon granted to man would remain fruit- 
less if it were not accompanied by a victory gained 
by God over the evil powers, who, owing to sin, exer- 
cised their dominion over humanity. God has con- 
ceived for the realization of salvation a plan which 
reveals a wisdom infinitely superior to that of the 
world. This plan of redemption is the object of the 
teaching imparted by the apostle to the perfect ( I Cor. 
ii. 6; Rom. xi. 33). This is the mystery which is re- 
vealed unto the elect (Col. i. 25, ii. 2). Redemption 
has a double object. Man must one day appear before 
the judgment seat of God, and if he be abandoned to 
himself he will not escape condemnation. 

Redemption has the effect of making him the object 
of a judgment of acquittal, and thus having part in 
the divine Kingdom. On the other hand, the sinner 
must be delivered from the evil powers who have 
dominion over him. To these two elements correspond 
two different moments of the work of redemption 
justification on one side and redemption properly so 
called on the other. On one side this distinction cor- 
responds to that which Paul makes elsewhere between 
the two parts of the redeeming work of Christ, between 
that accomplished by His death and resurrection and 
that which will be accomplished at the day of His 
glorious return at the end of the age. The work of 
justification is achieved in principle, while that of 
redemption is only hoped for (2 Thess. ii. 8; I Cor. 
xv. 24). However, if redemption depends upon the 


victory that Christ is to gain at the end of the age 
over all His enemies, His triumph is certain, for by 
His death and resurrection Jesus has conquered and 
despoiled the powers and dominions that is, the spir- 
itual beings hostile to God to whom humanity is now 
enslaved (Col. ii. 15). This it is which gives to the 
Christian hope of Paul so special a character. The 
work of justification is described by Paul with much 
more precision than that of redemption. This is not 
only because the first develops upon an historical plane, 
while the second will take place at the end of the age, 
and will in consequence possess an extrahistorical 
character. If, in theory, redemption, on Paul's theo- 
logical system, possesses as much importance as justi- 
fication, it is not so from the practical point of view. 
The whole missionary effort of Paul and Paul was a 
missionary before all else is concentrated upon the 
acceptation of justification by the sinner. This point 
once gained, everything else followed, for, from the 
individual point of view, redemption appeared as a 
consequence of justification, and the spirit which the 
justified one receives is the assurance of it (Rom. v. 10, 
viii. 23; Gal. iv. 6). 


The fundamental idea upon which the Pauline doc- 
trine of justification rests is that of two worlds, one 
succeeding the other. The present world, placed under 
the dominion of evil powers, has for its essential char- 
acteristics sin, death and impotence (Gal. i. 4; I Cor. 
i. 20, ii. 6, iii. 18; 2 Cor. iv. 3). It is destined to 
perish. The world of the future is the Kingdom of 


Christ and of God. The time which passes between 
the death of Christ and His return is an intermediate 
period, in which the two economies (if we may so 
express it) overlap each other. The old dispensation 
(or economy) still subsists, since of the powers which 
reign over it, it is said that they will perish ( I Cor. ii. 
8, xv. 24) ; it is never said they have perished; their 
destruction is foretold for the end of time ( I Cor. xv. 

The present world is dominated by three facts : Sin, 
the consequence of Adam's fall, and death introduced 
by it into the world; the promise given to Abraham, 
which, amid the darkness of a world condemned, 
causes hope to shine; and finally the Law of Moses. 
For each of these points of view the cycle is completed 
by the manifestation of Christ. Through it sin is van- 
quished, the faithful are restored to life ( I Cor. xv. 
22; Rom. v. 17), the promise made to Abraham is 
fulfilled (2 Cor. i. 20; Gal. iii. 16), and finally Christ 
is the end of the law ( Rom. x. 4 ; cp. Gal. iii. 2 1 , iv. 5 ) . 

The redeeming work of Christ involves at once God 
and man. Because of its essentially moral character, 
it can only be accomplished by a being in close soli- 
darity with humanity, therefore by a man. But as 
humanity is radically impotent, and the initiative for 
salvation belongs to God, it can only come through a 
being who is not himself a sinner but in intimate union 
with God, therefore by a celestial being. Hence the 
double character of the Pauline Christ, a human per- 
sonality and at the same time superhuman, not God 
(the term is not found in Paul), but the "Son of 
God" a contradiction that the apostle solves by the 
idea of the incarnation of the preexisting Christ 


Christ belongs at once to the divine and the human 
spheres; His personality has a double aspect (Rom. 
i. 4). But there is nothing in Paul to resemble that 
which later was to be the orthodox dogma, because his 
thought does not express itself in theological defini- 
tions, and also because he does not picture to himself 
a combination in the person of Christ of incongruous 
elements, but rather the succession of diverse phases. 
The Pauline idea is that of a divine Being, the image 
of God (2 Cor. iv. 4; Col. i. 15), a celestial man 
(i Cor. xv. 48, 49), the first-born of creation (Col. 
i. 15), who, laying aside His celestial attributes, be- 
came man, and who, after His resurrection, received 
the name of "Lord 11 (Phil. ii. 5-1 1 ) .^ 

Everything which concerns preexistence is outside 
of experience, as Paul conceives it, and has a double 
origin. This proceeds from the theological system 
of Judaism, in which the notion of the Messiah was 
very developed, but also from the theological reflec- 
tion. If Jesus, by His death and resurrection, had 
brought about that which He had, in fact, accom- 
plished according to the experience of Paul, it neces- 
sarily follows that His personality must have been 
unlike that of other men. 

The name by which Paul most frequently designates 
Christ is that of "Son of God." This is but an image, 
for there is nothing in the apostle's writings which 
resembles the idea to be met with later, of a Son be- 
gotten by God. The Christ remains distinctly subor- 
dinate to the Father. He was created by the Father. 
This follows from the parallel drawn between Adam 
and Him, but also from the term "image of God/ 1 
which recalls the narrative of the creation of the first 


man in the image of God (Gen. i. 27) and also of the 
term "first-born." The idea of the celestial man or 
the typical man of I Cor. xv. 48 is another form of 
the notion of preexistence which is affirmed in a series 
of explicit texts for instance, in the declaration of the 
Epistle to the Romans that God had sent His Son 
(Rom. viii. 3; cp. Gal. iv. 4; 2 Cor. viii. 9; Phil. ii. 5). 
It follows also from the part taken by Christ in the 
creation (i Con viii. 6; Col. i. 15-17)- 

At the end of time that is, at the moment chosen 
by God in the plan conceived by His wisdom (Gal. 
jv. 4) Jesus was born in the midst of the Jewish 
people, a descendant of Abraham and of David (Rom. 
i. 3). He was in all points obedient unto God (Rom. 
v. 17-19; Phil. ii. 8) and had in no wise known sin 
(2 Cor. v. 21 ). The texts in which a human appear- 
ance of Christ is spoken of (Rom. viii. 3; Phil. ii. 7) 
must not be interpreted against the reality of Jesus, 
for, as H. J. Holtzmann has very well observed, the 
Greek word employed is not opposed to the notion of 
identity, but to that of difference. 8 That which ex- 
plicitly confirms this interpretation is the fact that Paul 
attributes to Christ flesh and blood (Rom. i. 3, iii. 25 ; 
I Cor. x. 16: Col. i. 20), while these are, in his view, 
elements which characterize human nature, and are 

8 It may appear, given the notion of the flesh, that there is a con- 
tradiction between the humanity of Christ and the fact that He it 
without sin. The solution of this is given by the parallelism drawn 
between Adam and Jesus Christ. Just as Adam, before the fall, wa 
at the same time man and without sin, so it is possible to conceive 
that God had realized for Christ what Adam had been at the 
creation. It is to be noted that Jewish thought does not rigorously 
affirm the universality of sin. A Jewish Apocryphal book, fourth 
Esdras, says that nearly all men are sinners and that very few are 
not This offers some striking affinities with Paul's thought (vii. 139). 


foreign to the celestial life (i Cor. xv. 50). The 
essence of the work of Christ is His death upon the 
cross. The cross is for Paul the power and the wisdom 
of God (i Cor. i. 18, 23, 24), the sole reason that 
man can have to be assured of his salvation (Gal. vi. 
14), and for this the enemies of the Gospel are called 
the enemies of the cross of Christ (Phil. iii. 18). If 
Paul combated with the energy and perseverance 
known to us the idea of justification by the works of 
the Law, and particularly by circumcision, it is in order 
that the offense that is, the efficacity of the cross 
may not be diminished (Gal. v. II, vi. 12; i Cor. 
i. 17) . It is upon this idea that the apostle insists with 
the greatest emphasis (Gal. i. 14; i Cor. xv. 3; Rom. 
iv. 25, v. 10). Several concepts are introduced to 
explain it for instance, that of Christ as the paschal 
lamb (i Cor. v. 7), that of Christ as propitiation 
(that is, a means of salvation conceived as a levitical 
sacrifice) (Rom. iii. 25), and also that of the sacri- 
fice by ransom (Rom. vi. 17; Gal. iii. 13). But the 
governing thought which explains the process of justifi- 
cation is that of the condemnation of sin in the flesh 
of Christ (Gal. Hi. 13; 2 Cor. v. 21; Rom. viii. 3). 
Jesus, while being perfectly holy, was treated by God 
as though He were sin personified and condemned. 
This is not the idea of expiatory sacrifice incidentally- 
indicated in Rom. iii. 25, for the victim of this sacri- 
fice had to be of perfect purity, while the death of 
Jesus on the cross was that of one condemned, loaded 
with sin. Neither is it the equivalent of ransom, for 
the punishment of sin in the flesh of Jesus was a legal 
sanction and not a satisfaction accorded either to God 
or devil. Neither can it be said, as does M. Loisy, 


who assimilates the death of Christ to the sacrifice of 
the ram dedicated to Azazel, that Christ took upon 
Himself the sins of men. These sins, in fact, are not 
destroyed by His death. They subsist after it, with all 
their consequences, and are only destroyed by the 
virtual death of the believer realized by mystical union 
with Christ. We have in Paul an original conception 
in which juridical notions play a much greater part than 
in the Jewish conception of sacrifice. 9 

The death of Christ without His resurrection would 
be without efficacy. The resurrection is not only for 
Paul a reparation accorded to Christ, a recompense 
for His sacrifice ; still less is it a consequence of His 
divine nature. If Christ died without subsequent resur- 
rection, His sacrifice was in vain (i Cor. xv. 14-17). 
He was raised again for our justification (Rom. iv. 
25). When Paul uses the verb "to rise again'' in the 
active voice it is always God who is the subject of the 
sentence. Christ did not return to life by Himself. 10 
It is God who raised Him (i Thess. i. 10; Gal. i. I ; 
I Cor. vi. 14, xv. 15; 2 Cor. iv. 14; Roni. iv. 25). 
Through His resurrection Christ was restored to the 
rank and to the possession of the attributes which He 
had in His preexistence, and He is even placed at a 
higher rank than that which He occupied (Phil. ii. 1 1 ) , 

The question whether Paul taught a doctrine of expiation has 
been much discussed. There are many texts which seem to hint 
at it; those on which it is said that Christ died "for us" or "for 
our sins," but it is not certain that "for us" means "in our place" 
and not "in our interest," and that "for our sins" may have the 
sense of "accepting responsibility for our sins," and not "because 
of our sins." It is rather the idea of solidarity which seems to adapt 
itself to Paul's thought (2 Cor. v. 15). 

10 As in the case of the Johannine conception, "I have power 
to lay down my life and power to take it again" (John x. 18). 


and scats Himself at the right hand of God (Rom. 
viii. 34; Col. iii. i). He enters into the possession of 
the divine glory. In His glorious existence Christ was 
essentially spirit ( I Cor. xv. 45 ) , and even the Spirit ll 
(2 Cor. iii. 17; Rom. viii. 9, 10). The phrase "Christ, 
power of God" (i Cor. i. 24) makes of Him almost 
a "mode" of the divine activity. 

The death and resurrection of Christ also modify 
His position relatively to demoniacal beings. Hence- 
forward, indeed, they have no power over those who 
belong to Christ (Rom. viii. 37). He has gained the 
victory and reestablished order in the cosmos (Col. 
i. 18-20). He has taken the first place and brought 
into subjection all other powers. Nevertheless, accord- 
ing to I Cor. xv. 24, 25, the victory of Christ can only 
take place at the end of time. The reconciling of these 
two things, in appearance contradictory, seems at- 
tained by the idea that in the text of the Epistles to 
the Philippians, Romans and the Colossians they are 
considered as principles and in the absolute, while 
in the first Epistle to the Corinthians they are consid- 
ered in their chronological development. In the 
Epistle to the Romans it is a question of a certain 
victory, but one which does not exclude a struggle. 
The Satanic powers are not destroyed; they can still 
wage the last battle with Christ, but they will be unable 
to triumph. In the Epistle to the Philippians (ii. 
9-11) Christ receives a name before which every knee 
shall bow, but this does not imply that they will not 
attempt to rebel. On the other hand, in the first 
Epistle to the Corinthians, if there is a battle, the 

11 Believers mystically in union with him ceased to be flesh to 
become spirit (Gal. v. 24; Rom. vi. z). 


issue is fixed in advance. The victory of Christ is 
certain. According to CoL i. 20 Christ gains the 
victory by the blood upon the cross. This may be 
compared with I Cor. ii. 8, where the statement is 
made that if the archons of this world had known 
the wisdom of God that is, understood His plans 
they would not have crucified the glorious Lord. Why 
is this? Because they would not have devoted their 
efforts to the realization of a work which must have 
for them as consequence their overthrow and spolia- 
tion. The cross is thus the means by which the princes 
of this world are to be annihilated and despoiled. It 
is impossible to interpret with precision the thought of 
Paul on this point, for it proceeds only by allusions 
which are concerned either with the teaching he had 
himself given, or with the current ideas of his time 
for example, those developed in the Ascension of 
Isaiah, and which, to appeal directly to the intelligence 
of his readers, it sufficed to evoke. 

The full and complete victory of Christ over the 
spirits would only be gained at the end of the age. 
After His resurrection Christ is seated at the right 
hand of God (Rom. viii. 34; Col. iii. i). He will 
reign until all enemies have been put under His foot, 
and the last enemy of all death. Then He will sur- 
render the Kingdom to His Father, and this will be 
the end (i Cor. xv. 24, 26). 

How is this Pauline Christology formed? It is 
often said that the apostle was the creator of Chris- 
tology. This formula is only exact if the word "crea- 
tion" be understood, not in the sense ex nihilo, but in 
the sense of a synthesis formed from preexisting ele- 


ments. The Pauline thought appears as an original 
solution of a problem which arose out of the circum- 
stances themselves, for the Christological problem 
existed from the very moment that one single man 
continued to believe in Jesus in spite of the ignominy 
of His death. But the solutions or the outlines of them 
were swept aside by the powerful synthesis of Paul, 
which dominated all later Christian thought. Certain 
elements of the Christology of Paul have a speculative 
origin. These are specially the notions of saintliness 
in so far as it is not the observation of a fact but 
the affirmation of a principle and of preexistence. 
The notion, too, of the Messiahship has a theoretical 
and absolute character. The drama proceeds accord- 
ing to a necessary plan, while if we adopt the idea in 
the parable of the vineyard, according to the thought 
of Jesus, we are led to the conception that the arrival 
of the Messiah was a last attempt at redemption, which 
would not have taken place if the wickedness of man- 
kind had not rendered fruitless the mission of the 
prophets. The doctrine of the necessity of the death 
of Christ marks, indeed, an essential point of differ- 
ence between the thought of Paul and that of Jesus. 
For Jesus death is the supreme proof of love for His 
fellow men, which He will give them if it be necessary. 
It is like His entire ministry, but not separated from 
it ; it is an appeal addressed to sinners ; it is not what 
it is according to Paul's thought the very cause of the 
pardon of God. Reflection and speculation are dom- 
inant in Paul. As for the preponderance accorded to 
the cross one might almost say the eclipsing of 
Christ's ministry in face of the unique and extraor- 
dinary radiance of His cross it can only be explained 


by the angle under which Paul entered into contact 
with the Gospel. 

There is in Paul an element whose origin is in the 
Jewish Messianic doctrine. 12 Bruckner has shown that 
after eliminating what is specifically Christian in the 
Pauline Christology there is found a system of coherent 
ideas which finds its place in the most natural manner 
in the development of the Jewish Messianic doctrine. 
This Christology existed in Paul's mind before his 
conversion. Certain Hellenic elements are also to be 
recognized those treating of the relations of Christ 
with the spirits but they may have been incorporated 
with Jewish ideas before Paul. Nothing, however, 
would be more erroneous than to consider the Pauline 
Christology as only a simple development of Jewish or 
Judeo-Hellenic premises. That which gives him his 
originality is the synthesis built up of these elements 
and the historical episode of the life and death of 

It is not possible to reduce to a common element 
the historical and dogmatic constituents of the Pauline 
Christology, as M. Couchoud would do. This is 
proved by the fact that we do not find in Paul a 
homogeneous conception of the cause of Christ's death, 
as should be the case if the entire history of Jesus, and 
of His death in particular, had been the postulates of 
a dogmatic system. According to I Cor. ii. 8 Christ 
died crucified owing to the acts of the archons or re- 
bellious angels against God. According to Rom. vii. 3 

12 Concerning the Jewish Messianic doctrine see Schurer (Gesch.), 
Boussct (Die Religion des Judentums), Baldensperger (Die Met" 
$ianischapokalyptuchen, etc), Brflckner (Die Entstehung der Paul- 
ischen Chrutohfie). 


He died (although He was not in person a sinner, but 
through solidarity with humanity accepted by Him) 
because God treated Him as though He were sin itself, 
and inflicted the chastisement which sinners deserve. 
These two conceptions are not dialectically irrecon- 
cilable. One might imagine the archons as agents used 
by God to punish sin. Doubtless the two conceptions 
are far from having the same compass or being on 
the same plane. The first is only indicated in a quite 
incidental manner, in a dissertation which treats, not 
of the death of Christ, but of the wisdom of God. 
The second is in direct relation with the doctrine of 
justification, which is at the heart of the apostle's 
thought. The coexistence of these two explanations 
proves, however, that we are not dealing with a ready- 
made conception, nor with a system developed from 
myth or doctrine, but from the interpretation by this 
doctrine of an historical fact. 



The same conclusion follows, with better evidence 
still, from the study of the Pauline theory of the 
justification and redemption of the sinner. The death 
of Christ, as we have seen, abolishes the consequences 
of sin, and contains in germ the defeat of the demons 
to whom humanity is subject and whose action pro- 
duces sin and death. But, however efficacious it be, 
this death does not abolish the actual consequences of 
sin. The theoretical destruction of its power does not 
save mankind from continuing to bear as a fact the 


consequences of sins committed, and if the demon- 
powers are in principle condemned, mankind still under- 
goes the effects of its subjection to them in the past. 
Moreover, their power continues to be exercised up 
to the time when their defeat will be fully consum- 

The work accomplished by Christ in dying on the 
cross does not at once justify sinners ipso facto by 
one act, to some extent magical; it merely makes jus- 
tification possible that is to say, the acquittal of man 
before God's tribunal. Justification opens to the be- 
liever access to the Heavenly Kingdom and gives him 
assurance of his future redemption. 

Salvation can only be attained for the individual by 
a moral act. This plainly follows from the term of 
reconciliation employed by Paul. This term implies 
the change of the relation between persons. "We be- 
seech you in the name of Christ," writes Paul, exer- 
cising thus what he calls the ministry of reconciliation, 
"be ye reconciled with God" (2 Cor. v. 20). To the 
act of God giving His Son there must correspond an 
act of man. God calls the sinner; the latter must re- 
spond. Justification is the act of imputing to the sinner 
the justice attained by Christ, who, considered as sin- 
ner, has put Himself through His death right with the 
Law, and who lives henceforth a life freed by the 
power of God from the dominion of sin and death. 
The starting point of justification is faith. This term 
and words derived from it are often found in Paul. 1 * 
Faith is the specific phenomenon of the religious Chris- 
tian life. The type of believer is Abraham. In what 
did his faith consist? In this, that God, having 

19 About 280 times in the authentic Epiatles. 


promised that he should be the father of a large poster- 
ity, he had confidence in this promise at the time when 
his age and that of his wife rendered its realization im- 
probable (Rom. iv. 17-21). Faith is therefore not 
founded upon the evidence of a truth, but upon the 
confidence inspired by God and His omnipotence. Ac- 
cording to i Cor. ii. 4, 5 faith has its origin in the 
power of God, and not in human reasoning. Faith is 
faith in God (i Thess. i. 8), but there is also faith in 
Christ (Gal. ii. 16 ; Rom. Hi. 22), because it is through 
Christ that God keeps His promise. To believe in 
Christ is to believe in the promises of God ; it is there- 
fore also to believe in God. Faith has for its origin 
the preaching of the Gospel by the apostles and the 
missionaries whom God has appointed for this object 
(Rom. x. 14) ; it includes an intellectual element, the 
idea of God who by His power raised up Jesus from 
the dead. Paul mentions it between the gift of wisdom 
and that of knowledge (i Cor. xii. 8, 9). But faith is 
not only knowledge and confidence; it is also (and this 
is the most original element in the Pauline conception) 
mystical union. The believer united to Christ is made 
a participator in everything touching Him, and partic- 
ularly in His death and resurrection. According to I 
Thess. v. 10 Jesus died in order that believers, whether 
sleeping or waking, may be with Him. This supposes 
the establishing of an indissoluble bond between the 
believer and the Savior. In i Cor. i. 9 "communion" 
with the Son of God, the Lord, appears as an ideal held 
up to the faithful. He who is united with the Lord 
becomes a spirit with Him 14 (i Cor. vi. 17). In Gal. 

14 In this passage the idea of the union of believers with the 
Christ serves as the starting-point of the argument, which proves 


ii. 19, 20 Paul declares himself to be crucified with 
Christ: "It is not I that live; it is Christ that liveth in 
me," and this suppression of the individual life has for 
its consequence the suppression of all accidental differ- 
ences of race, sex and social situation (Gal. iii. 27, 
etc.). According to Rom. viii. 29 the object of pre- 
destination is that believers may be made like unto the 
image of the Son of God, so that Christ may be the 
first-born among many brethren (Rom. vi. 3-5, xiv. 
9; 2 Cor. iv. 10, n, xi. 2). 

The explanation of this union is furnished by the 
idea of the death of Christ in solidarity with human- 
ity. "As one died for all, therefore all died ; and He 
died for all, so that the living should no longer live 
for themselves, but for Him who died and rose for 
them" (2 Cor. v. 14, 15). The mystical union has for 
its effect the rupture of the bond uniting the man to 
the world. He asks again : "Can it be that you do not 
know that all of us who were baptized into union with 
Christ Jesus in our earthly baptism shared His death? 
Consequently, through sharing His death in our bap- 
tism, we were buried with Him that just as Christ was 
raised from the dead by a manifestion of the Father's 
power, so we also may live a new life. If we have 
become united with Him by the act symbolic of His 
death, surely we shall also become united with Him 
by the act symbolic of His resurrection. We recognize 
the truth that our old self was crucified with Christ, 
in order that the body, the stronghold of sin, might be 
rendered powerless, so that we should no longer be 
slaves to sin. For the man who has so died has been 

that we are concerned with one of the fundamental ideas of the 
apostle with which the faithful must have been very familiar. 


pronounced righteous and released from sin. And we 
believe that as we have shared Christ's death we shall 
also share His life. We know that Christ, having 
once risen from the dead, will not die again. Death has 
power over Him no longer. ... So let it be with 
you ; regard yourselves as dead to sin, but as living for 
God, through union with Christ Jesus" (Rom. vi. 2- 
1 1 ) , 18 There is here no image, but a precise formula 
which is to be taken literally. Christ is free in regard to 
sin because in dying He paid His debt. Sin, death and 
the law have no more dominion over Him. The same 
thing is also true of the believer mystically united with 
Christ. He also is free with regard to sin, death and 
the law. 

In the last passage cited, what is said about baptism 
might be interpreted symbolically. But other passages 
show that this explanation does not suffice, and that to 
Paul, baptism is more than a symbol. It effectively 
brings about the union of the believer with Christ, 
"For we were all baptized to form one body, whether 
Jews or Greeks, slaves or freemen" (i Cor. xii. 12). 
Faith and baptism are thus presented in Gal. iii. 27 as 
the two means through which is realized the union of 
the believer with the Lord, "For all of you who were 
baptized into union with Christ clothed yourselves 
with Christ." 16 

That which is true of baptism is also true of the 
Eucharist. This, for Paul, is an act instituted by 
Jesus in commemoration of His sacrifice, and as a 

* B Translator's Note. English version from Twentieth Century 
New Testament, based upon Westcott and Hort's text. 

16 This is confirmed by the practice of baptism for the dead to 
which Paul alludes in i Cor. xv. 29, without pronouncing any 
censure or making any reservation. (Author's note.) 


means of entering into relation with Him in His death. 
In this act, with which the entire Church is associated, 
the faithful are invited to sit down at the Lord's table 
and receive His cup. The bread and the wine dis- 
tributed to them are the flesh and blood of Christ. 
They put those who consume them in direct relation 
with Christ through His death. The fruit the believer 
obtains by his participation in the repast is the con- 
sciousness of being by its means intimately united to 
the dying Christ (i. Cor. x. 16, 17). 

Baptism and communion, then, occupy in the Pauline 
system exactly the same place as faith. Like it, they 
are the means through which mystical union is attained. 
What relation exists between these two things ? Have 
we here two notions which, if not contradictory, are 
at any rate different as to their origin and not reducible 
to each other the idea of mystic union through faith 
which represents Paul's thought, while the theory of 
the sacraments is only an interpretation of the rite 
practised in the Church? This solution seems to us 
to encounter several difficulties. If the sacraments 
were in the background of Paul's thought it would be 
comprehensible that he should have spoken of them 
in i Cor. xi, where there was an abuse to be attacked, 
but not that on a quite practical question (the con- 
sumption of meat sacrificed to idols) he should have 
relied upon the meaning of the communion as a decisive 
argument. Neither would the texts relating to baptism 
be comprehensible. On the other hand, seeing that in 
so systematic a mind as the apostle's the simple juxta- 
position of two different conceptions is very improb- 
able, one is forced to suppose that the mystical union 
attained by faith and that attained through the sacra- 


ments are only two aspects of the same fact. The 
link uniting them is not the idea that the sacrament is 
only a symbol of the faith alone efficacious. The 
apostle, in fact, attributes a real, though harmful, 
action to the communion when observed without rever- 
ence, (i Cor. xi. 27-30). The sacrament acts of itself 
ex opre operate and without the intervention of faith, 
but faith that is, the conscious desire to become one 
with Christ is necessary to direct its action. To 
understand this it is necessary to get rid of the modern 
ideas opposing symbol and reality to each other, and 
to remember that for the mind of antiquity the symbol 
partook of the reality of that which it represents ; for 
instance, a name was not a simple designation, but the 
very substance of the thing named. 

The mystical union accomplished for every believer 
that which had been accomplished for Christ by His 
death and His resurrection. This is implied in the 
fundamental affirmation of Paulinism, "the believer is 
justified by faith." Certain texts seem to favor an in- 
terpretation imputing to Paul the idea of effective justi- 
fication that is, a transformation of the believer. In 
Rom. via. 4, for instance, it is stated that God "con- 
demned sin in the earthly nature (of Christ) so that 
the requirements of the Law might be satisfied in us 
who live now in obedience, not to our earthly nature, 
but to the Spirit." But it is a question here not of 
justification, but of sanctification, which while inti- 
mately related to, is still different from it. Similarly 
the exhortation to sin no more which is addressed in 
Gal. ii. 17 to those who have been justified by faith 
in Christ would have no meaning if justification were 
identical with sanctification. Justification is forensic: 


it is the act of God the Judge, who proclaims "just* 1 
(that is, acquitted) the sinner who appears as the 
accused before Him. It is an anticipation of the Last 

The mystical union in linking the fate of the believer 
to that of Christ breaks the fetter which keeps man 
the slave of sin and death. In like manner as Christ, 
who lived in the flesh during His earthly ministry, has 
become spirit, the believer also is no longer flesh, but 
spirit (Rom. vi. 12). But if in theory the believer 
has broken with sin and the carnal life, in practice this 
rupture is not consummated. It suffices to show this 
to recall the important place filled in the Pauline 
Epistles by exhortations to sanctification (for instance, 
Gal. v. 1-6, 10). In fact, sanctification is never com- 
pletely realized, and it is this which explains the some- 
what special character which the Pauline morality 
assumes. 17 The fundamental idea upon which it rests 
is that of the abolition of the Law 18 (Gal. iii. 24, iv, 
4, 5, v. 18; Rom. vi. 14, vii. 1-6). "I am dead unto 
Law," wrote Paul (Gal. ii. 19). The believer is then 
a free man (Gal. v. i; Rom. vi. 18, 22; I Cor. ix. 
1-19, etc.). His activity should, in principle, be spon- 
taneous. Since he belongs to God, he ought to live 
according to God; since he is a spirit, he ought natu- 

* T Upon the Pauline morality see Wernle, Der Christ und die 
Siinde bn Paulus; also R. Bultmann, Das Problem der Ethik bet 

i*By this is meant the abolition of the ritual part of the Law, 
not of its moral part. But the inadequacy of the terminology which 
does not allow the apostle to distinguish exactly between the two 
things prevents his reaching an exact statement, as is seen by the 
passage i Cor ix, 20, where Paul declares that he is not under the 
Law, although he cannot be without a law, since he is under the 
law of Christ 


rally to produce what Paul calls the fruits of the spirit 
(Gal. v. 16; Rom. viii. 12). 

Things are not, however, so simple in reality, and 
obligation, abolished in principle, is restored in fact. 
That which seems as though it should be shown as a 
consequence is formulated as a postulate. 1 * Man 
should strive to realize the fruits of the spirit, which 
are in harmony with his new nature. He ought to 
struggle and labor to escape indeed the very law which 
in theory no longer exists for him (Gal. v. 13; Rom. 
vi. 15, viii. 7, 8). 

The morality of Paul answers to the dualism of the 
fact of flesh and spirit which subsists in the believer 
until redemption is achieved; it possesses, therefore, 
only a temporary value, and will be abolished when 
believers shall fully live the life of the spirit. 20 There 
lies here a difference between theory and practice which 
must be explained. Paul has expressed in touching 
words which remain classic the sense of this imperfec- 
tion of sanctification : "For I am so far from habitually 
doing what I want to do that I find myself doing the 
very thing I hate. . . . But when I do what I want not 
to do, I am admitting that the Law is right. This 
being so, the action is no longer my own, but that of 
sin which is within me. I know there is nothing good 
in me I mean in my earthly nature. . . . Miserable 

10 A curious fact must be pointed out that in the exposition of the 
Epistle to the Romans where the modus operandt of redemption is 
analyzed the argument ends by an exhortation, "Being justified by 
law, let us have peace with God." Logical consistency seems so 
plainly to require a declaration that many manuscripts have substi- 
tuted "we have" for "let us have." 

20 Concerning the Pauline morality should be noted among the 
motives proposed by the apostle the place occupied by the idea of 
the imitation of Jesus (i Thess. i. 6; i Cor. xi. i; i Col. iii. 13). 


man that I am! who will deliver me from the body 
that is bringing me to this death?" (Rom. vii. 
1 5-24 ). 21 Doubtless the apostle gives a cry of triumph 
to follow this lament "Thanks be unto God through 
Jesus Christ our Lord" but the motive of this cry 
is the hope of being delivered in the future. The 
liberation of those who are in Christ is therefore only 
a potential liberation. 

This dualism which exists in man after justification 
is explained by the fact that the believer, although dead 
to the flesh, continues to live in the flesh. Neither his 
body nor the world in which he lives has been trans- 
formed. He has only received the promise of the 
Spirit as surety of that which will be fully realized 
later (2 Cor. i. 22, v. 5; Rom. viii. 23). Glory, the 
celestial attribute reserved for the elect, is only prom- 
ised him (Rom. v. 2, viii. 18). Salvation is not fully 
accomplished. "By our hope we were saved." Again 
he writes : "Our salvation is nearer now than when we 
first believed" (Rom. xiii. n). In the same Epistle 
further he writes : "If while we were yet sinners Christ 
died for us, how much more now that we are justified 
by His blood shall we be saved by His life?" The 
Epistle to the Philippians similarly affirms that salva- 
tion is not yet attained (i. 6). It is at the second 
coming of the Lord that it shall be fully realized 
(Rom. viii. 18-25). 


How are we to explain this seeming contradiction in 
Paul's conception of the position of the justified man, 

Translator** NQt*.Twntteth Century Nno Ttttamint, Wcitcott 
mod Horfi text. 


which is not in fact what in theory it ought to be ? For 
the faithful it is only at the end of time that will be 
consummated the thing which in principle follows from 
the new situation in which he finds himself through 
mystical union with Christ. This is one of the most 
difficult and delicate problems which the interpretation 
of Paulinism presents. It is by no hazard that it is 
so ; it is the consequence, we would say without hesita- 
tion it is the penalty of the association in Paul's thought 
of two incongruous elements. There is, indeed, some- 
thing more than the complex situation in which man 
struggles between two antagonistic forces which alter- 
nately attract and repel him. The contradiction is 
much deeper ; it lies at the very root of Pauline thought. 
In the way Paul conceives it, the situation of man 
between justification and redemption is of a provi- 
sional and temporary character. Paul expects the re- 
turn of Christ at a very early date to complete the 
work begun. 22 Justification and redemption, although 
separate, remain organically linked one to the other. 
They are two acts of the same drama. So inter-related 
and complementary are they that their separation can 
only be conceived by a complete dislocation of the 
Jewish doctrine of the Messianic redemption. There 
is no equivalent for this dislocation in the whole Jewish 
Apocalypse. We do not think that it is possible to 
give any other explanation than the following: The 
conception of redemption, in Paul, is anterior to his 
Christian faith. As a Rabbi, he already expected the 

22 In I Thess iv. 15 and I Cor xv. 51 Paul conceives that the 
return of Christ will take place during his life. He had announced 
this to the Thessalonians in such a way that the latter had begun 
to suppose that the faithful who died before the Savior's return 
would be excluded from salvation (i Thess. iv 13). 


arrival of a Savior who would rescue men from the 
dominion of sin and death to bring them into the King- 
dom of the Spirit, whose advent would be marked by 
the triumph of the Messiah over the enemies of God. 

This faith was his at the time when Jesus in his 
eyes was only a justly condemned blasphemer. Then 
happened the mysterious event upon the Damascus 
road which gave him the conviction that Jesus was 
living and in glory. From this he concluded that what 
His disciples had said about Him was true : that Jesus 
had been the holy Son of God, sent upon earth to 
accomplish His work. Hence was established an un- 
expected synthesis between the doctrine of redemption 
(already in his mind) and the story of the Nazarene 
Jesus, crucified by Pontius Pilate, but raised again from 
the dead since He showed Himself to His friends and 
to Paul himself, and henceforward was living in the 
spirit life. 

The synthesis of these two elements (the story of 
Jesus and the doctrine of redemption) Paul was un- 
able to effect completely at once. There were in the 
mission of the Savior-Messiah certain elements which 
did not permit of their relation to Jesus of Nazareth. 
These were all those which (to put it in one word) 
related to a triumphant Messiah, restorer of the sov- 
ereignty of God. Paul resolved the difficulty by divid- 
ing the mission of the Messiah into two parts and in 
reserving for the glorious return of Christ (which he 
considered very near) everything it was impossible to 
discover as accomplished in the life, death and resur- 
rection of Jesus. The Pauline doctrine thus proceeds 
from a dislocation of the work of redemption. It 
therefore has no single source; it is not born out of 


the elaboration or the transformation of a myth, but 
proceeds from the interpretation of an historical fact 
by a doctrine already preexisting it: the fact consti- 
tuted by the life and the dealh of Jesus and by belief 
in His resurrection. The theology of Paul assumes 
therefore a double starting point for its development. 
One is a doctrine of redemption whose origins must 
be sought in Judaism; 23 the other is an historical epi- 
sode, the life of Jesus. It is not possible, as M. Cou- 
choud has attempted, to attribute to it a more 
homogeneous character, and by reducing one of these 
elements to the other to maintain that the history of 
Jesus was deduced from a drama of redemption. 
Indeed, it would not be possible to find in the history 
of Jewish thought more or less syncretic an analogy 
to the process that must be admitted in Paul; for to 
presume the existence of certain forms of Judaism 
of the Diaspora sensibly differing from that of Pales- 
tine and which would not have been without a strong 
influence on rising Christianity would not be to state 
a true parallel. 

We know of nothing, in fact, in the Judaism of the 
Diaspora which offers any real analogies with the 
Pauline speculations on this point, and it would be 
unquestionably making use of an inadmissible historical 
method to attempt the explanation of a given fact by 
something which is only a conjecture. But it is not 
entirely the absence of any parallel which forbids us 
to see in Paulinism an exclusive product of specula- 
tion ; it is also the existence of incoherences and internal 
contradictions which we have pointed out. If the 

28 In a Judaism which, no doubt had not been entirely uninfluenced 
by foreign ideas, principally Greek and Persian. 


Christian doctrine had come forth in its entirety from 
the brain of Paul, as Minerva did from that of Jupiter, 
it would present a homogeneous character. The 
manifest traces of the sutures we have discovered 
plainly prove its double origin and justify us in affirm- 
ing that the Pauline system of theology assumes and 
certifies the historical tradition about Jesus. 




THE interpretation of the testimony which the non- 
Pauline Epistles give concerning Christ calls for the 
same observations already made concerning those of 
Pauline origin. These documents are the Epistle to 
the Ephesians, attributed to Paul, but in which one 
is obliged to perceive a secondary imitation of the 
Epistle to the Colossians ; the pastoral Epistles ( I and 
2 Tim. and Titus), in which there appear to have 
been inserted fragments of authentic Pauline letters; 
the first Epistle of Peter, at the basis of which arc 
found the essential ideas of Paul; the Epistle to th* 
Hebrews, written by a man very familiar with the 
Alexandrine philosophy and exegesis; the second 
Epistle of Peter and that of Jude, closely related to 
each other, and apparently of fairly recent period ; and 
lastly, the Epistle of James, who makes use of the 
traditional Jewish and Greek ethic, and shows very 
striking analogies with the literature of the Wisdom of 
the Old Testament. 1 With the exception of the Epistle 
of James, all these works belong to the literary species 
which Paul created by his correspondence, and all 
betray the influence of his theology. 

i The three Epistles of John, which cannot be considered separately 
from the fourth Gospel, are not mentioned here. 



None of these letters pretends to be a complete 
exposition of Christian faith. They are written to 
believers, and onjy expound the ideas and the beliefs 
which they assume to be those of their readers. 2 
Several among them, so far as their date can be fixed 
with any preciseness, were written at the time when 
the Gospel literature began to be spread abroad. All 
these Epistles should be considered as the commentary 
upon certain points of Christian doctrine and tradi- 
tion ; it is illegitimate to employ in what concerns them 
the argument ex silentio that is, to suppose their 
authors were ignorant of certain ideas because they 
do not give them expression. 

Very frequently in the Deutero-Paufine literature 
the idea of the imitation of Jesus is met with. The 
idea could only have been a moral force for men who 
were acquainted with the human history of Jesus. The 
author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, after having 
proposed to his readers the imitation of the heroes 
of the faith spoken of in the Old Testament and 
Jewish tradition (xi. 1-40), concludes by exhorting 
them to fix their eyes upon Jesus, who "endured the 
cross and despised the shame" (Heb. xii. I, 2). The 
way in which this exhortation is connected with the 
examples given in the eleventh chapter is only compre- 
hensible if this also is referred to an historical model. 
The author also exhorts the faithful to suffer insult as 
Jesus Himself had done (xiii. 13). The writer of the 
first Epistle of Peter declares to his readers who are 
called upon to suffer persecution that they ought to 

2 This is illustrated by a significant fact In the Johanninc 
Epistles, which, as all are aware, are closely related to the fourth 
Gospel, there is no allusion to the facts about the life of Jesus. 


find consolation in the thought that Christ also suf- 
fered in the flesh (iv. i), and has left to them an 
example that they may follow in His footsteps. Thus 
he makes his thought precise : "Reviled, He reviled not 
again; He suffered, but He did not threaten; He 
entrusted His cause to Him whose judgments are 
just" 8 (ii. 21-23). 

The author of the Epistle to the Ephesians, exhort- 
ing the faithful to live in love for one another proposes 
that they should follow the example of Christ, "who 
loved us and gave Himself for us" ( v. 2 ) . 


It is true that in the pastoral Epistles the name of 
Jesus is never found, but always "Jesus Christ," with or 
without the epithet of the Lord, which is a designation 
of the celestial Christ, not of Jesus in His earthly 
ministry. It is also true that there is no direct men- 
tion of His death in certain passages where an allusion 
would seem natural 4 (i Tim. i. 14; 2 Tim. i. 9, etc.; 
Titus iii. 4-7). The writer specially speaks of the 
manifestation of the glory of God in Jesus Christ 
( i Tim. i. 15 ; 2 Tim. i. 9, etc. ; Titus iii. 4, etc.) ; and if 
he insists upon the human character of this manifesta- 
tion, he does so without citing any concrete detail, no 
doubt because these details were in the minds of his 
readers. Concerning this manifestation, he employs 
the word epifaneia (2 Tim. i. 10; Titus iii. 4), which 

* Immediately after the author speaks of the death of Christ on 
the cross (i Peter ii. 24). It is evident that there is an allusion 
here not to an Apocalyptic drama, but to the crucifixion. 

* But account must be taken of the effect upon the mind of his 
readers of the form of words used by the writer. 


appears to put it in the same category with the mani- 
festation of Christ at His return 5 (i Tim. vi. 14; 
2 Tim. iv. i, 8; Titus ii. 13), but it must not be 
forgotten that the identity of the Christ expected 
at the end of the age with the Jesus who had already 
appeared in history had for the Christian faith much 

In the first Epistle to Timothy there is a definite 
allusion to a testimony given by Jesus in the presence 
of Pontius Pilate. The writer urges Timothy to fight 
the good fight of faith, to seize hold upon eternal life 
to which he had been called, and of which he had made 
confession in the presence of several witnesses. "I 
urge you as in the sight of God, the source of all life, 
and of Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate made 
the great profession of faith I urge you to keep His 
commandments without stain or reproach until the 
appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ" (i Tim. vi. 
12-14). The mention of the Roman Procurator in 
the same conditions, found in Ignatius and Justin, has 
given rise to the suggestion that the phrase in the first 
Epistle to Timothy might be a first sketch of the article 
in the creed "He suffered under Pontius Pilate." 6 M. 
Kattenbusch thinks that the testimony of Timothy 
which is referred to is that given by him at the time 
of his baptism. Concerning Jesus Christ, the phrase 
"give testimony'* may have a double meaning, and 
relate both to the declarations of Jesus and to His 
sufferings. In the article of the creed the mention of 
Pilate is only a chronological indication. It is too 

Von Soden, Dot Interest* det apostoltschen Zeitalter* an der 
Evangelischen Geschichte (Freiburg im Br., 1892). 
* Von Soden, op. cit.; Kattenbusch, Das apostolischt Symbol. 


brief to have been introduced in an apologetic interest 
to confirm the reality of the crucifixion. 7 

M. Kattenbusch believes that the phrase in the creed 
arises from the transfer of a formula of exorcism, 
"In the name of Jesus Christ, crucified by Pontius 
Pilate." 8 This theory gives rise to various objections. 
The parallelism which exists between the confession of 
Timothy and that of Jesus Christ compels us to give 
the term the same meaning in the two cases, and nega- 
tives the introduction (even in a subordinate manner)' 
into the confession of Jesus Christ of the notion of 
suffering and death, which would not apply for Tim- 
othy. The idea of the suffering of Christ is so ail- 
important in Christian thought that it could not have 
been merely suggested. This idea once excluded, there 
is no longer any connection (according to M. Katten- 
busch's view) between the passage of the first Epistle 
to Timothy and the article of the creed. Nevertheless, 
it is difficult to admit that the coincidence between the 
two phrases is quite fortuitous. 

The explanation offered by M. Kattenbusch of the 
article of the creed is no more satisfactory. If the 
mention of Pontius Pilate possessed a chronological 
interest, an indication of this kind would have been 
more in place in reference to the birth of Jesus. The 
insertion into the creed of a formula of exorcism which 
does not seem to have had wide currency does not 
appear to be more natural either. 

An interpretation of the passage in the first Epistle 
to Timothy, infinitely more satisfactory than those 

t If such were its character, the function of Pilate should be 
This formula 10 attested by Justin, by Ireneus and by Palladium 


hitherto proposed, has been offered by M. Baldens- 
perger, who seems to us to have definitely explained 
the meaning and scope of the text simultaneously with 
its relations to the article of the creed. 9 We shall 
sum up in its main features his illuminating study, of 
which all the conclusions (it seems to us) must be 
accepted. The phrase concerning the testimony of 
Jesus could not have had for its object to fix the time 
in which He lived. Neither Timothy nor the other 
readers of the Epistle required enlightenment on this 
point. Besides, the writer has no care for history or 
chronology. His eyes are fixed on the future and not 
on the past. Neither does he dream of affirming the 
reality of the facts of evangelical history, or, as the 
mythologists have it, of making history out of a myth. 
The mere mention of Pontius Pilate would, besides, 
be quite inadequate to do that. One of the preoccu- 
pations dominating his thought was the contest against 
heresies. Those which he attacks have a practical 
character and a reference to the life of the Christians. 
What is known by us about the author's thought per- 
mits us to affirm that if he had found himself con- 
fronted by a negation respecting the reality of the life 
of Jesus, he would not have confined himself to a com- 
bat on a side issue by the phrase, "He rendered testi- 
mony before Pontius Pilate" a phrase which, besides, 
was a simple allusion to an episode known to his 
readers and in no wise in doubt among them. The mere 
mention of the fact permits the argument to be drawn 
from it. It was a question of testimony and not of 
suffering; there is therefore no reason to suppose an 

Baldenspergcr, // a rendu ttmoignage sous Ponce Pilate (Revue 


antl-Docetist polemic as is the case in other texts where 
Pilate is mentioned. 10 The starting point of the argu- 
ment is not the testimony of Jesus, but that of Timothy. 
It is only incidentally, and as an encouragement for 
Timothy to persevere in his attitude, that the testimony 
of Jesus is recalled. M. Baldensperger does not think 
that it is Timothy's baptismal confession of faith which 
is referred to, but a testimony which Timothy had 
given of his faith before the magistrates who had 
interrogated him on the subject. "One is justified 
in saying," writes M. Baldensperger, "that Timothy, 
like Christ, had been summoned before the Roman 
magistrates and that he had publicly confessed his 
faith. In this way the text of I Timothy is replaced 
in the historical environment to which it belongs by 
origin. It is a period of persecutions. The duty of 
the leaders of the Church was clearly marked out; they 
were obliged to insist that the disciples of Jesus should 
publicly confess their faith without lending themselves 
to more or less formal denials to save themselves from 
persecution. " n And M. Baldensperger points out 
very appositely that a whole series of maxims found in 
the New Testament recalls this duty of public confes- 
sion. "Whosoever shall confess Me before men," said 
Jesus, "I will confess him before My Father who is in 
heaven. Whosoever shall deny Me before men, the 
same will I deny before My Father who is in heaven" 
(Matt. x. 32, 33). Doubtless all these declarations 
did not have their first origin at the period of the 
persecutions, but the way in which they stand out in 

10 For instance, Ignatius, ad Magn. t xi; ad Smyrn> La; ad. Tral. 

ix, i. 

Baldensperger op. at., p. 20, etc. 

I So 

relief reveals clearly an undeniable solicitude and 
shows anxiety to outline clearly to Christians their 
duty, as is also done in his exhortation of the First 
Epistle of Peter: "Sanctify the Lord in your hearts, 
being always ready to give an account before whomso- 
ever may question you of the faith which is in you" " 
(i Pet iii. 15). Under these circumstances, given the 
importance which the idea of the Christ as a model 
possessed in Christian thought, it was natural that the 
episode of the interrogation of Jesus by Pilate should 
come to be insisted upon. In this was seen a living ex- 
ample of the attitude incumbent upon the faithful when 
interrogated by the judicial authorities. But why did 
the writer of the Epistle propose to Timothy the exam- 
ple of Jesus when He had already given testimony? 

The answer is the history of the persecutions 
proves it that generally one single interrogation of 
the Christians was not considered sufficient. In 2 Tim. 
iv. 1 6 there is a reference to a first appearance before 
the magistrates, which implies necessarily that there 
will be a second, and Pliny expressly states that he 
was in the habit of interrogating accused persons two 
or three times. This is the reason that Timothy was 
exhorted to persevere in his attitude. In the critical 
circumstances through which Christianity was passing, 
exhortation to fidelity in the confession of faith was 
always a present need. It was therefore originally the 

12 Concerning the importance of testimony at the period of perse- 
cutions see Apoc. 11. 13. The fact that the Christians of Pergamos 
did not deny their faith at the time of the martyrdom of Antipas 
has caused the presence of Nicolaites among them to be considered 
as having little importance, while the struggle against heresy was 
one of the dominating occupations of the author of the letters 
to the seven churches. 


idea of the "Christ as model" for the confessors of the 
faith which gave birth to a symbolical formula destined 
to enter later into the Apostles' Creed. There remains 
to explain the transformation by which the phrase "He 
suffered under Pontius Pilate" was substituted for "He 
gave testimony before Pontius Pilate." M. Baldens- 
perger supposes an error of interpretation of the word 
marteria, taken in the sense of martyrdom and not of 
confession. This explanation is perhaps not sufficient. 
It is difficult to accept in respect of a phrase which 
must have long had for Christians a great practical 
value. Perhaps it might be possible to think of another 
explanation. The various phrases of the creed which 
refer to Christ are so arranged as to constitute a 
summary of His history, and it might be asked if it was 
not through an assimilation with what is stated con- 
cerning the crucifixion and death that the general idea 
of martyrdom (which besides also included the notion 
of testimony) has been substituted for the narrower 

Whatever the explanation may be, the scope of the 
passage I Tim. vi. 13 stands out clearly through the 
exegesis of M. Baldensperger. It is no question of 
the evolution of history from a myth, as M. Couchoud 
thinks, nor of an effort to crystallize by a chronological 
detail a history which might seem inconsistent, but the 
utilization, with an immediately practical aim in view, 
of a detail in the tradition known to every one, teaching 
a lesson upon which it was necessary to insist. 

This conclusion illuminates this fact: that for the 
writer of the pastorals the Christian faith rested upon 
real history. This affirmation is found in such a form 


that it proves the writer had no sentiment of making 
an innovation. 


Although the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews 
makes current use of the name of Jesus, and not only of 
Jesus Christ or the Lord, the historical person of Jesus 
does not in his thought possess very special importance. 
He who is designated by the name of Jesus is the glori- 
fied Lord who preexisted and who is now in heaven. 
Thus it has sometimes been thought that the Christ of 
the Epistle to the Hebrews was a purely mythical per- 
sonage," and, indeed, as Windisch 14 has observed, this 
Jesus was a celestial Being, and not a man who had 
made a profound impression upon those who had 
known Him. His history is presented in abstract 
terms which almost all apply to the traditional type 
of the Messiah, borrowed from the Old Testament, 
and especially from the Psalms. What is said about 
His death is in some aspects lacking in everything of 
historical character. The Jesus of the Epistle to the 
Hebrews is a High Priest who offers His own blood 
in sacrifice (ix. n) ; He is not the condemned of the 
Sanhedrin, executed by the Romans." But these fea- 
tures, which have considerable importance, are not the 
only ones to point out. If Christ preexisted, and if 
He is now in celestial glory, the link which unites these 
two periods of His history is His incarnation. Herein, 

* Drews, Die Christusmythe ; Smith, Ecce Deus; Coucboud, Le 
tire de Jttvs. 

i* Windisch, Dtr Htbrdrbrief. 
11 Von Sodcn, op. cit., p. 120. 


as Von Soden has well observed, is a conception 
closely related to that of the Epistle to the Philippians. 
The idea of the human life of Jesus in the thought 
of our author does not play a purely minor 
part; it explains the redemption accomplished by 
Jesus a redemption at the center of the author's 

He emphasizes certain features which clearly show 
that a history of Jesus, and in particular of His death, 
was familiar to him, and forms the foundation of his 
theology. He indicates that the manifestation of 
Christ took place at a recent date, in a period which 
he considers the last in the world's history (i. 2) . The 
message had been brought to him by those who had 
first heard the preaching of Jesus (ii. 3). He describes 
the sufferings and temptations of Jesus in words which 
would be with difficulty explicable as theoretical views, 
and he maintains that they should be a model and a 
consolation to men who also have to support suffering 
and persecution. "Because He Himself has suffered, 
being tempted, He is able to succor those who are 
tempted" (ii. 18). "Although He was the Son of 
God, He learned obedience from His sufferings; and 
being made perfect, He became to all those who believe 
in Him the author of eternal salvation" (v. 8, 9). The 
lot of Christ is exactly the same as that of all men, 
who must die once, after which is the judgment 
(ix. 27, 28). The whole constitutes a summary of 
Christ's sufferings ; there is no intention by the author 
to rewrite a history that in any case his readers know, 
but there is a certain care to depict in it a drama of 
redemption and the desire to attach a practical lesson 
to it. 


One single detail concerning the Passion is related 
in the Epistle to the Hebrews. This is that Jesus died 
outside the city (xiii. 12), This detail is not found in 
any of the Gospel narratives, but seems to be implied 
by John (xix. 20). This is, besides, extremely prob- 
able, and seems to be presumed in all the accounts. 
Because the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews brings 
this detail into relief owing to the allegorical signifi- 
cance which he accords it, there is no legitimate reason 
to suppose that he postulates it for ulterior con- 
venience. In a speculative construction this detail 
would not be thus isolated; it would form part of a 
general picture interpreted as an allegory. In the con- 
ditions in which it is found, it is only to be explained 
by supposing that it is borrowed from a narrative of 
the death of Jesus, from which it is detached because 
of its allegorical interest. 




The first Epistle of Peter, if we except the concept 
of the Christ as the model of the faithful, does not 
contain any allusion to the facts of the life and death 
of Jesus. The Gospel history is presented as the 
realization of a prophetic program. The holiness of 
Jesus is based upon Isaiah (liii. 9) and in i Pet. ii. 22, 
when referring to His sufferings, the writer quotes the 
same prophet (liii. 4-6). The first Epistle of Peter 
shows how the theological interpretation of the Gospel 
history, already vaguely outlined in the preceding 


generation, tended to become substituted for the his- 
tory itself. The Epistle of Jude is too brief to author- 
ize any conclusions whatever, for it is rash, seeing the 
vagueness of the expressions employed, to suppose as 
does Weinel, that verse 4 is a polemic against Doce- 
tism. Admitting the date of its composition as prob- 
ably fairly late, we might pass over the second Epistle 
of Peter 10 written at a time when the Epistles of Paul 
already formed a collection of recognized authority 
(iii. 15, 1 6) that is to say, when Christianity and its 
doctrines were settled in their essential features. The 
author alludes to the account of the transfiguration 
as related in the Synoptic Gospels (i. 16-18). He 
very distinctly places himself on the ground of the 
Gospel tradition. This does not prevent his consider- 
ing the person and work of Jesus from a uniquely dog- 
matic point of view. Here is a manifest proof and it 
does not apply to the second Epistle of Peter alone 
that a theological conception of the Christ in no wise 
excludes the historic tradition. This is an idea which 
must not be lost sight of when one begins an examina- 
tion of the Epistle of James. This has a peculiar 
physiognomy which is not to be found in any other 
book of the New Testament. No allusion is found 
to the history of Jesus, even when the line of thought 
would seem necessarily to require it, as in Chapter 
v. 10. 

Beyond the opening salutation (i. i) the name of 

16 It is unnecessary to say that our observation! would only have 
more force if the authenticity of the Epistle be admitted, as is done 
by Catholic exegesis and certain Protestant critics for instance, 
Spitte (Der Zxvnlc Brief des Petrus) and Zahn (EinleUung in das 
Neue Testament). 


Jesus Christ is only found once (ii. i), and it is intro- 
duced 1T in a way that might suggest an interpolation. 
Hence the hypothesis which considers the Epistle to 
be a Jewish work in which the name of Jesus Christ has 
been introduced in two different places. 18 This hypoth- 
esis does not appear admissible owing to the numerous 
reminiscences of Gospel phrases found in the Epistle 
and because they are the Pauline formulas concern- 
ing justification by faith (somewhat inaccurately trans- 
mitted, it is true) which the writer has in mind in the 
second chapter (ii. 14-26). The Epistle introduces 
us to an original type of Christianity conceived as a 
rule of life and a source of moral inspiration. The 
Gospel is the perfect law of liberty (i. 25) or the royal 
law (ii. 8). These are practical instructions given 
by the writer. He does not place them in any relation 
with a drama of redemption, historical or mythical. 
It is evident that from such a work no conclusion as 
to the character of the evangelical tradition can be 
drawn, the latter being ignored, or, to be more pre- 
cise, they are left aside. 


In their entirety the non-Pauline Epistles of the New 
Testament show us, then, the continuation of the de- 
velopment which we have already recognized in the 
Pauline Epistles. The Gospel history serves as the 

* T "Jesus Christ, our glorified Lord." 

"Massebieau, L'Epitre de Jacques est die l'(Eui>re d'un Chritienf; 
Spitte, Dfr Brief de$ Jakobus, etc. It is interesting to note that 
Spitta and Massebieau developed their theories independently of 
each other. 


base of the development of a doctrine of redemption, 
and the further we advance the more does the doctrine 
grow in importance and tend to substitute itself for 
the history of which originally it was the interpre- 

tation. 19 

1 The same development continues in the writings of the Apostolic 
Fathers (Clement, Ignatius, Polycarp, Barnabas), but it shows less 
and less originality. It is unnecessary to examine this in detail, for 
these documents were written at a time when doctrine and tradi- 
tion were fixed in their essential elements. 



THE Johannine Apocalypse, as we have it, dates from 
the last decade of the first century that is, from a 
period when a Gospel literature existed at least in its 
essential elements and the author of the Apocalypse 
appears to know it. There is no direct reference to 
the contents of this literature in his book, but the 
nature of the work sufficiently explains it. On the 
other hand, one lights upon reminiscences which are 
clear enough to prove that the author knew the Gospel 
tradition. "Unless you are on the watch," says the 
Angel of the Church of Sardis, "I shall come like a 
thief, and you will not know at what hour I am com- 
ing." This is almost a quotation from Matt. xxiv. 
43, 44 and Luke xii. 39, 40: "If the master of the 
house had known at what watch of the night" (Luke, 
"at what hour") "the thief would come, he would 
have watched." "Be ye ready, for the Son of man will 
come at an hour when ye think not." "He who over- 
cometh," is read in the conclusion of the same letter, 
"will I confess before My Father and before tjis 
angels." This reminds us of Matt. x. 32, Luke xii. 8 : 
"Whosoever shall confess Me before men, the same 
will I confess before My Father who is in Heaven" 
(Luke has it, "before the angels of God"). The 



phrase in the Apocalypse (xiii. 10), "Whoever shall 
kill with the sword, the same shall be killed with the 
sword," recalls Matt. xxvi. 52, "All they who take up 
the sword shall perish by the sword." Finally, the 
illustration of the Water of Life in xxi. 6 and xxii. 
17 is too similar to what is found in John iv. 10, 
etc., vii. 37, to permit the supposition of a chance 

The Apocalypse must not be taken alone. In order 
that it may be correctly interpreted, all the ideas and 
all the knowledge which it presumes must be taken 
into account. 

The Christ of the Apocalypse, notwithstanding the 
name Jesus by which He is most frequently designated, 
is a celestial Being. He is the Lord in the heavens, 
whose return is awaited (i. 5-13 and iii. n), and 
the testimony 1 rendered to the Christ, who occupies 
so great a place in the book, is a testimony rendered 
to the Lord in the heavens, as may be inferred from 
Chapter ii. 13. Could it be otherwise in a book whose 
entire outlook is towards the future? Nevertheless, 
this celestial Being has had a human history. The 
writer makes no direct mention of this, but he pre- 
sumes it in saying, for instance, that He died (i. 5, 
v. 9) or that He had been crucified at Jerusalem 
(xi. 8), and it is precisely this which explains his 
celestial dignity. It is the lamb who was slain who 
alone is worthy to break the seals of the book (v. 6). 

Among the most characteristic details of the figure 
of Christ is that which states that He died and returned 
to life. The frequent mention of the blood of the 

^Thc word Is found no less than nine times, without counting 
the noun "witness" (five times) and the verb "witness" (four times). 


lamb and its purifying action presumes a doctrine of 
redemption, which, like those of Paul and the Deutero- 
Pauline Epistles, is a theological interpretation of the 
drama of Calvary. There is not to be found in the 
Apocalypse any detail which recalls the Gospel ac- 
counts of the Passion, but to appreciate this fact at its 
true significance allowance must be made for the alle- 
gorical character inherent in the Apocalyptic writings. 
The mere mention of the death of the lamb evokes for 
the readers of the book the souvenir of the Passion 
with sufficient clearness. 

There are, on the other hand, in the Apocalypse 
certain pictures which have a distinctly mythical char- 
acter. The Messiah there appears completely stripped 
of all human features. He is a Being entirely ideal. 
How ought these images to be interpreted? To reply 
to this question certain principles which are essential 
to the interpretation of the Apocalypse must be re- 
membered. 2 The Johannine Apocalypse belongs to a 
group of books whose composition in the bulk is dis- 
tributed over the two centuries which preceded and 
the two centuries which followed in the Christian era. 
This species of literature possesses its rules, its habits, 
its methods, which are found almost identical in all 
the writings belonging to it Jewish as well as Chris- 
tian. There is an Apocalyptic tradition' which explains 
the affinity obeserved between the various works. 
There are always the same images and symbols to be 
found, the same activities at work. But this is not all. 
The writers of this Apocalyptic literature must not be 
considered as visionaries notwithstanding the im- 

2 Consult on this subject the introduction to the various commen- 
taries, particularly those of Boussct, Charles, and Loisy. 


portant part played by inspiration in the Christian pro- 
ductions but as "rabbis," not ignorant of the works 
of their predecessors. On the contrary, they carefully 
studied them, discovered their prophecies, corrected, 
modernized, and adapted them to new surroundings. 
Often they introduced in the works they composed 
descriptions more or less elaborate, borrowed from 
an older Apocalypse. The author of the canonical 
book has not departed from this procedure. Thus are 
to be explained the incoherences, the doublets, the repe- 
titions so frequently found in his work, and of which 
it will suffice to give as an instance the juxtaposition 
of the scene at the breaking of the seven seals (v. 1-8) 
and that of the seven trumpet blasts (viii. 2-11), to 
which may be also added that of the seven bowls 
(xv. 1-16). Hence a double duty is incumbent upon 
the interpreter of the Apocalypse. The writer is far 
from being a mere compiler ; he does not restrict him- 
self to sewing together and framing the fragments of 
previous works. If he has made use of already exist- 
ing material, in adding thereto portions that literary 
analysis cannot fail to identify, it is in order to express 
his own ideas and personal sentiments, and to press 
them into the service of the object he aimed at. Above 
all it is necessary to disentangle his personal thought 
and the signification of the picture he drew. Bousset, 
who has done more than any one to influence the study 
of the Apocalypse by the analysis of its sources, has 
strongly and judiciously insisted upon this point. He 
wrote that "the main task is to understand the Apoc- 
alypse as a personal and original work possessing its 
literary unity." It would be a grave error to attribute 
directly to the author of the Apocalypse all the ideas 


and sentiments found in the documents he used with- 
out taking into account the corrections in detail he 
made, and, above all, the indications which follow 
from the main plan of his work and of the part played 
in its development by fragments borrowed from earlier 

Certain of these fragments express ideas and senti- 
ments they were not in their origin destined to convey, 
and among those which the writer has adopted to 
express an idea which dominated his mind are to be 
found others which are not his at all, and which have 
only penetrated into the book in its actual form owing 
to their solidarity with others belonging to the primi- 
tive document. 8 


This rule of interpretation should particularly be 
applied to Chapter xii, 4 in which M. Stahl and M. Cou- 
choud, independently of each other, have thought they 
found the concept of a Christ purely ideal. 

The vision of Chapter xii forms a whole complete in 
itself, and which possesses no organic relation either 
with what precedes or with what follows it. It is 
permissible therefore to consider it in itself. 

The seer says that a great portent 6 shows itself in 
the heavens: 

8 The failure to recognize these principles vitiates radically the 
studies of MM. Stahl and Couchoud; Stahl, Le Document 70; 
Couchoud, Le Mystere de Jesus. 

4 Upon this chapter see Wellhausen (Analyse der Offenbarvng 
Johannu) Stahl, Couchoud. 

e Wellhausen and Stahl think that the first scene takes place ID 
reality en the earth, and there is only in the heaven a sign which 
announces it. It would be difficult, according to them, to conceive an 


A woman appears, clothed with the sun; she has the 
moon under her feet, and upon her head is a crown of 
twelve stars ; she is with child, and upon the point of 
giving birth to it. Another portent also appears in 
the heavens. It is a great fiery dragon with seven 
heads with seven crowns. His tail swept away and 
hurled down to the earth the third of the stars of 
heaven. The dragon stood before the woman about to 
give birth to the child and prepared to devour her 
child as soon as it was born. The woman gave birth 
to a son destined to rule the nations with a rod of 
iron. The child is carried away to the presence of 
God before His throne. The woman flees away into 
the wilderness, where for a period of 1,260 days she 
is nourished and tended. 6 Then ensues a battle in 
the heavens. Michael and his angels fight against the 
dragon and gain the victory they drive their enemies 
from the heavens. They are not to be found again. The 

accouchement in the very heavens, and besides, the child, as soon as 
he is born, is caught up into the heavens, and finally it is said that 
the woman fled into the desert, which is opposed not to the heavens, 
but to another place in the earth. None of these three arguments 
can be admitted. One cannot insist that an Apocalyptic scene should 
be probable. The theory of superposed heavens allows us to con- 
ceive readily that the child born in one of the lower heavens, or 
rather (seeing that stars are mentioned) in the firmament, is imme- 
diately after carried away to a higher heaven He is, in fact, placed 
before the throne of God. This is not the place of his birth. Finally, 
the fact that the return of the woman on the earth is not expressly 
mentioned is nothing more than a piece of negligence in the form of 
the account. 

6 These 1,260 days represent 42 months that is, 3^/2 years, the half 
of a week of years, the unh of time for Apocalyptic calculations 
since Daniel Wellhausen and Stahl consider these $ l /2 years to be 
the duration of the Jewish war, but as M. Alfaric remarks, with 
reason, the 3^2 years only fit this period very imperfectly. And 
besides, the figure of 3^ yars is traditional in the Apocalypse. In 
his work of 1907 Wcllhausen has not reproduced the interpretation 
which he gave in 1899. 


great dragon, the old serpent, he who is called the 
devil and Satan, he who deceives the inhabitants of 
the earth, is hurled to the earth, and his angels share 
his fate. In heaven a voice is heard celebrating the 
victory. Now is the day of salvation and power and 
dominion of our God, and the rule of His Christ, for 
the accuser of our Brethren had been hurled down, he 
who ceased not, night and day, to accuse them before 
our God. Their victory was through the blood of the 
lamb and by the word of their testimony. In their 
love of life they shrank not from death. Therefore 
rejoice, ye heavens, and ye who inhabit them ! Woe 
unto the earth and the sea, for the devil has descended 
unto you in fury, knowing that his days are counted. 
When the dragon saw he was conquered he pursued 
the woman who had given birth to the male child. But 
to the woman were given the wings of the great eagle, 
so that she might fly to the wilderness, where she is 
nourished for one year, for two years, and for half a 
year. 7 Then the dragon poured water from his mouth 
like a river so that she might be drowned. But the 
Earth came to her help and opened its mouth and 
drank up the river which the dragon had poured from 
his mouth. Then the dragon went away to make war 
upon the rest of her children they who observe the 
commandments of God and are faithful to the testi- 
mony of Jesus and he took his stand upon the sea- 
shore. 8 

This passage is not a free creation, but the adapta- 
tion of a more recent Apocalyptic fragment. The 

* That is to say, f/ 2 years, "for a time, and times, and half a time." 
8 This last part of the sentence serves to connect with the picture 
which follows. 


interest which is centered at the beginning on the 
Messiah's birth turns in the divine canticle and its 
conclusion upon the destiny of believers. In the verses 
7-9 the victory over the dragon is gained by Michael 
and his angels. According to verse n, on the con- 
trary, it is by the martyrs, who through the blood of 
the lamb and by the faithfulness of their testimony 
have overthrown their accuser. There is another in- 
coherence not less significant between the picture given 
in verses 1-9 and that outlined in verses 13-18. The 
two flights of the woman into the desert, the refuge 
which in both passages is represented as prepared for 
her, the duration of this retreat, all manifestly form 
a doublet. But while in the first passage the woman 
is the mother of the Messiah, and may, therefore, be 
identified as the people of Israel, 9 in the second passage 
she is the mother of believers that is, the Church. 10 
The image of the battle against the dragon is not 
one and the same throughout the chapter either. In 
the first passage the Messiah plays no part; He is only 

* It is extremely probable, as M. Loisy has shown, that the woman 
was originally an astral personage and that this is a portion of an 
astrological myth. But for the writer the entire interest of the 
picture is centered in the fight with the dragon 

lOWellhausen (Analyse), followed by Stahl, considers the woman 
to be Zion and the first child to be the Jewish Messiah The other 
children would therefore be Jews who had fled from Jerusalem 
because they did not rely upon arms, like the Zealots, but only on 
God, to reestablish the Theocracy. Under these conditions it is 
strange that no mention is made of the first group of the children 
of Zion. It would thus be necessary to suppose much mutilation of 
the source of the passage, not only at the end but in the middle, 
which would seem improbable. It is for this reason that we prefer 
to consider the verses 13-17, which follow a portion due to Christian 
inspiration (verses 10-12), as a glossing over the theme (developed 
in the Jewish fragment found at the beginning of the chapter) by 
the Christian editor. 


the king destined to reign with power when order is 
restored in the world. It may perhaps be imagined 
that He will be called upon to play a part in the last 
phase of the struggle, but up to the supreme moment 
He is held in reserve in heaven and in shelter before 
the throne of God, the victory being gained by Michael 
and his angels. In the celestial hymn, on the contrary, 
it is through the blood of the lamb that is thanks to 
the Messiah's work that the martyrs gain the victory. 

It may be added that no organic relation is per- 
ceptible between the statement (in the first portion of 
Chap, xii) of Satan being hurled to earth, and the 
mention of the same thing in Chapters xix, xx chap- 
ters which, in their essentials at least, there is good 
reason to attribute to the writer of the Johannine 

As for the character of the fragment utilized at the 
beginning of Chapter xii, it does not seem possible to 
hesitate in recognizing it. The quite secondary part 
played in it by the Messiah indicates that it must be 
Jewish and not Christian. 11 In whatever way the 
primitive origin of Christianity may be conceived, how 
can it be supposed that at the end of the first century 
a Christian could have imagined Christ as rapt up to 
the heavens immediately after His birth, while com- 
pletely suppressing His historical ministry and the 
redemption drama?" 

"Weilhausen (Analyse), while admitting that this idea of the 
Messiah rapt up to the heavens immediately after his birth is not 
attested in Judaism, maintains that it is possible to see in it a 
compromise between two Messianic conceptions the Messiah coming 
from the people of Israel and the Messiah of Daniel coming from 
heaven. This idea is found in the rabbinical tradition. (Cp. Israel 
Levi, Le ravisttment du Messie enfant ) 

12 Wellhausen, Analyse, p. 20. 


While borrowing this Jewish fragment, the Chris- 
tian author has made additions to it which entirely 
change its character. The defeat of the dragon, for 
the sake of which he collected this fragment, must in 
the original have been final; in his work it is no more 
than a stage of the great struggle and the guarantee 
of future victory. The writer makes use of it to 
express one of the ideas to which he was most ad- 
dicted, which in his readers' eyes had the greatest 
practical value and reality the idea that the very rage 
of the devil against the Christians, as manifested in 
the persecutions, was the consequence of his first de- 
feat, and that this rage would continue to be power- 
less provided only that the Christians remained faithful 
and were able to bear their sufferings without yielding 
to weakness. 

We are unable, then, to discern in the idea of the 
newly born Messiah, immediately caught up to the 
heavens and transported before the throne of God, 
the primitive form of Christian Christology; it is an 
element borrowed, and which does not express the 
thought of the author of the Apocalypse. If at the 
beginning of the chapter there is indeed the idea of a 
purely mythical Messiah, it is a Jewish and not a Chris- 
tian idea. Chapter xii, therefore, cannot be legits 
mately invoked by the supporters of the nonhistorical 
character of Jesus, and the considerations above of- 
fered to support the thesis that the Apocalypse as- 
sumes the Gospel tradition maintain their force. 




THE preceding chapters have led us to the conclusion 
that the theology found in the Epistles of the New 
Testament and in the Apocalypse necessarily presume 
the existence of the Gospel tradition. It is with this 
tradition that we have now to deal. But before be- 
ginning the direct study of it, we shall find it con- 
venient to examine a theory which, if well founded, 
would offer in favor of the thesis of the mythologists 
an argument of great weight : this is the theory which 
holds that the Gospel narratives or at least the most 
important among them are developed from themes 
supplied by the Old Testament. 

Already had Schelling, in a course of lectures upon 
the philosophy of art given at the beginning of the 
last century, observed that the history of Jesus was. 
completely enveloped in fables whose creation and 
development had been suggested by prophecies in the 
Old Testament. 1 After him Strauss sought to find in 
the Old Testament one of the sources of the Gospel 
myths. After this critics occupied with the history of 
the Gospel tradition recognized the profound influence 
exercised upon it by the Old Testament. 

i Schelling, Sammliche W*rke, 1856, Stuttgart. 



Returning to their observations, M. Salomon Rei- 
nach has stated in very harsh terms the problem which 
this contact poses. The solution which he gives of it is 
distinctly unfavorable to the historical character of the 
events related in the Gospels. His observations are 
confined to one particular point, the history of 
the crucifixion of Jesus. Indeed, here is the knot of 
the problem, for according as one admits or denies the 
reality of the cross, the historical character of the 
person of Jesus will be substantiated or will fall to 
the ground. We may, therefore, confine our observa- 
tions to this point of capital importance: Is the ac- 
count of the crucifixion of Jesus the relation of a real 
fact, or is it derived from the supposed fulfillment of 
certain prophecies previously read in the Old Testa- 

In M. Reinach's opinion, 2 and M. Couchoud entirely 
shares his point of view, 8 the problem presented is a 
very simple one. We are in face of a dilemma. Given 
agreement between a prophecy and a narrative, and 
two explanations only are possible: Either the 
prophecy is, in fact, what it is taken to be by orthodox 
traditional theology that is, it rests upon a super- 
natural and anticipated knowledge of events or the 
narrative has been suggested, and, so to speak, en- 
gendered, by the prophecy, and ought to be considered 
as totally without value. To admit the first hypothesis 
would be to accept a dogmatic a priori and conse- 
quently to place oneself outside the conditions of his- 
torical research. 

i Salomon Reinach, Orpheus; Le Venet 17 du Psaume xxii; Bossutt 
*t V argument det propheties, etc. 
Couchoud, Le Myttir* de Shut, p. 49. tc. 


Arc we, therefore, forced to accept the second alter- 
native, and to conclude that all the portions of Gospel 
history in which the recognition of the fulfillment of 
prophecies is possible are of a purely mythical char- 
acter, even including those in which the Gospel tradi- 
tion itself has recognized them? First of all must be 
noted the conditions in which the prophetic argument 
first appeared and developed in early Christianity. 4 
Before everything else there existed an apologetic 
method of which the Christian missionaries made use. 
The history of Jesus bewildered the Jews, so contrary 
was it to the way in which they conceived the Messiah. 
The cross of Jesus had been to Paul the object which 
prevented his belief in what the Christians said about 
Him. That which was true of Paul was certainly also 
true of all those who had received a similar education. 
The Jew Tryphon is prepared to yield to Justin's argu- 
ment claiming to prove by scriptural demonstration 
that the Messiah is called upon to suffer, 5 but he abso- 
lutely refuses to admit that the Christ had perished 
by the infamous punishment of the cross. In his eyes, 
as in those formerly of Paul, the phrase of Deu- 
teronomy remains an invincible obstacle: "Cursed be 
he who is hung on a tree" (xxi. 23). 

Says Tryphon: "Your pretended Christ was with- 
out honor and without glory, to such a degree that 
He was under the most extreme malediction of the 

See concerning this subject the interesting studies of Weidel, 
also of Feigel; also compare with Nicolardot, Let Procedts dt rt- 
daction de$ trots premiers evangelistes. 

* (Dialogues Ixxvi. 6 and Ixxxix. 2). Justin does not confine him- 
self to invoking the Scriptures to fix the meaning of the death of 
Jesus. He makes use of them, also the very fact of the death (tee 
Apol., i. 35), where he invokes the testimony of Psa. xxii. 


Law He was crucified!" (Dialogues, xxxii. 3). 
Again he writes: "We are aware, accepting the argu- 
ment of Justin, that the Christ must suffer . . . but 
that He had to be crucified, that He had to die a death 
of such a degree of shame and dishonor a death 
cursed by the Law prove this to us, for we are totally 
unable to conceive it" (xc. I, Ixxxix. 2, xciii. 4). 

Tryphon was no exception. He represented a point 
of view which had already evolved towards the idea 
of a suffering Messiah. 8 Before his time the passage 
in Isaiah (Chap, liii) had not yet been connected with 
the Messiah. 7 It is impossible to say precisely if Chris- 
tian ideas did not influence Judaism on this point. At 
all events, what is found in the pre-Christian period 
concerning the efficacy of suffering is at the most merely 
the germ of later development. 8 The idea of the re- 
deeming utility of suffering concerning the martyrs of 
the time of Antiochus Epiphanius is found in the sec- 
ond book of the Maccabees, especially in the cele- 
brated episode of the death of the mother and of her 
seven sons: u As for me, said the last of them, like 

6 Schurer writes that it is "impossible to deny that in the second 
century of our era certain Jewish circles were familiar with the 
idea of a Messiah suffering to expiate the sins of men." 

* Referring to the idea of the Messiah's sufferings in the period 
following, see Dalman. See also Volz, Judische Eschatologie von 
Daniel bit Aklba. It should be noted, however, that even at the 
period where the idea of the suffering Messiah is commonly met 
with in Judaism, interpretations are given to Isaiah (Chap, liii) 
which do not relate to the Messiah. Origen, for example, cites, in 
his work Contra Cehvm, the opinion of a Jew who referred the 
prophecy to the Jewish people, obliged to suffer, and be dispersed in 
the world so that many proselytes might be won over. 

8 We do not attach much importance to the idea found in a passage 
of the fourth book of Esdras, where it is stated that the Messiah 
must die after reigning 400 years. There is no question there of 


my brothers, I give my body and my life for the laws 
of my fathers, praying to God to show mercy quickly 
to my people. May the anger of the Most High, justly 
incited by our race, be ended at my and my brother's 
death" (2 Mace. vii. 37, 38). The same idea is found 
in the fourth book of the Maccabees, which dates from 
the first century of our era. At the point of expiring, 
the martyr Eleazar addresses this prayer to God: 
"Have compassion upon my people; for their sake be 
satisfied with my punishment I Make of my blood a 
means of purification, and accept my life for their 
ransom" (4 Mace. vi. 29). 

Notwithstanding the interest and importance of the 
indications to be gleaned in these and some other texts, 
it is only possible to recognize in them materials which 
have been utilized later in the elaboration of a doctrine 
of the Messianic sufferings. But this doctrine did not 
exist in the Judaism of the first century, and it is this 
fact which made the task of the Christian apologists 
and missionaries a difficult one. 

The problem presented to Justin was presented 
from the first days of the life of the Church. A con- 
siderable effort must have been made to discover in 
the Scriptures a demonstration of the necessity of the 
Messianic sufferings. To find this must have required a 
quite special acquaintance with the prophecies. The 
apostle Paul explains that if the Jews did not find in 
the Scriptures the same thing as the Christians, it was 
because, while reading Moses, they had a veil over 
their intelligence (2 Cor. iii. 15, 16). When the dis- 
ciples met with Jesus on the road to Emmaus, it was 
necessary for Him to "open up to them the Scriptures" 
(Luke xxiv. 32). While commencing with Moses, He 


expounded to them everything in the prophetic writ- 
ings concerning Himself, as well as the necessity for 
the Christ to suffer to enter into His glory (xxiv. 26, 
27). The concept of the sufferings and the death of 
the Messiah, which the Christians had so great a need 
to discover in the Old Testament, was therefore, by 
their own admission, only contained there in such an 
obscure manner that a special capacity was required to 
find it. This renders the hypothesis that the Scrip- 
tures suggested the idea of the crucifixion of the 
Messiah one of very small a priori probability. 



The problem of the relations between prophecy and 
the Gospel history is not so simple as the dilemma 
formulated by M. Salomon Reinach would suppose. It 
is convenient, we think, to distinguish between several 

I. Creations due to Prophetic Exegesis 

There is first of all among these a series which 
support M. Reinach's theory. These are the episodes 
or details which for the main part are only found in 
the youngest Gospel narratives. If the influence of 
prophecy does not suffice to explain them completely, it 
certainly appears to have taken some part in their 
genesis. It will suffice to mention here some examples: 


The most ancient tradition seem to have considered 
Jesus the son of Joseph. 9 The idea of the supernatural 
birth, as it is found developed in Matthew (i. 18), 
arises partly from the application to Mary and her 
Son of the passage in the prophet Isaiah (vii. 14), 
thus phrased in the Septuagint version: "A virgin shall 
conceive and bear a son" a prophecy whose realiza- 
tion is emphasized by Matthew 10 (i. 22, etc.) in the 
narrative of the birth of Jesus. 

Similarly, primitive tradition represented Jesus as a 
Galilean, born at Nazareth; but as a prophecy of 
Micah (v. I ) had announced that the Messiah would 
be born in Judea, it was found necessary to put his- 
tory in harmony with it. Matthew and Luke have done 
this in two different ways, which, besides, are not to 
be reconciled with each other. Matthew 11 states that 
after His birth the parents of Jesus went to reside at 
Nazareth to flee from the wrath of Herod and his 
heirs (ii* 19-23). Luke affirms that the parents of 
Jesus resided at Nazareth, but that Jesus was born at 

This idea is presumed, in their primitive form, by the genealogies 
given by Matthew and Luke. Compare the Syraic version of Sinai 
of Matt. i. 1-16: "Joseph, to whom the Virgin Mary was betrothed, 
will beget a son " This reading is supported by certain manuscripts 
of the old Latin version. Neither John nor Paul make the slightest 
reference to a supernatural birth. (See M. Goguel, Infrod. au N.T., 

I, P- 469.) 

10 The Hebrew text has a word which signifies "young woman 
and not "virgin." It has no relation whatever to the Messiah. The 
prophecy of Isaiah relates to the deliverance of Jerusalem, besieged 
by the king of Syria. A sign is given to Achai a young woman will 
became enceinte, and (it is announced to the king) before the child 
is born and "knows how to reject evil and choose the good" (that is 
to sty, in a very short time) "the country whose two kings thou 
fearest shall be abandoned." 

11 By the way, he finds in die arrival of Jesus at Nazareth the 
fulfillment of a prophecy (ii. 23). 


Bethlehem, where His parents had come upon the 
occasion of the census taken by Quirinius (ii. 1-39)- 
In the gospel of the infancy it is also possible to 
instance the flight into Egypt as having a prophetic 
origin (Matt. ii. 13-15), fulfilling the words of 
Hosea, which in the original text related to the people 
of Israel and not to the Messiah: "Out of Egypt have 
I called My Son." There is also to be noted in this con- 
nection the massacre of the innocents (Matt ii. 16- 
18), in which the evangelist saw the fulfillment of the 
words of Jeremiah (xxxi. 15). 

2. Modifications Due to Prophetic Exegesis 

Sometimes prophetic exegesis has only caused the 
modification or the addition of one detail. Thus 
Matthew (xxi. 14-16) records that after He had 
driven the dealers out of the Temple, Jesus was the 
object of an ovation on the part of the children. This 
detail was certainly suggested by the words of the 
Psalm (viii. 3) : "Out of the mouths of babes and 
sucklings Thou hast called forth praise." Certain de- 
tails of the history of the Passion must have the same 
origin. Mark (xiv. n) and Luke (xxii. 5) relate that 
the chief priests promised Judas a sum of money if 
he would deliver Jesus to them. Matthew (xxvi. 15) 
specifies that the sum was thirty pieces of silver, and 
he later (xxvii. 3-10) relates that Judas, seeing how 
events had happened, returns to the chief priests and 
the elders to say, "I have sinned in delivering up the 
blood of the innocent," and he then flings the thirty 
pieces on the floor of the Temple and goes out to hang 
himself. The priests decide that this money, being the 


price of blood, cannot be paid into the treasury, so 
they employ it in the purchase of a plot of ground be- 
longing to a potter, to be a burial ground for for- 
eigners. Matthew himself reveals the origin of this 
story by saying: 'Thus was fulfilled the prophecy of 
Jeremiah: they took the thirty pieces of silver the 
price of Him who was valued by the people of Israel 
and gave them for the potter's field as the Lord had 
commanded me." 12 

Mark relates how, at the moment when Jesus is to 
be crucified, He is offered aromatic vinegar to drink. 
The women of Jerusalem were in the habit of giving to 
condemned persons a stupefying drink to attenuate 
their sufferings. 13 Matthew (xxvii. 34), remembering 
doubtless a passage in the Psalms, "they made me to 
eat gall" (Ixix. 22), has substituted "gall" for the 
aromatic drink, and has thus changed the significance 
of the detail. 

In Luke (xxiii. 6-16) the episode of the appear- 
ance of Jesus before Herod an episode whose his- 
torical character cannot possibly be admitted l4 prob- 
ably owes its origin not only to the memory of the 
hostility which Herod had shown to Jesus in Galilee 
(Luke xiii. 31-33)7 but also to the words of the psalm- 
ist : "The kings of the earth and the great ones have 

12 This passage is not found in Jeremiah. It is borrowed from 
Zechariah (xi. 12) with the addition of some details taken from 
Jeremiah (xviii. 2, xxxii. 6). 

"This custom, attested by the Talmud (Wunschc), may originate 
in a passage in Proverbs: "Give strong liquors to him who perishes 
and wine to him who has bitterness of soul Let him drink and for- 
get his poverty and let him no more remember his pain" (Wunsche, 
Neue Beitrage nur Erlantenung der Evangelien, etc.). 

14 Indeed, one cannot imagine how the Procurator, so jealous of 
his authority, could have recognized, even as an exceptional thing, 
any right of jurisdiction to Herod at Jerusalem. 


assembled together against the Lord and against His 
Anointed" (Psa. ii. 2), the great ones being repre- 
sented by the Jewish authorities and Pilate. Herod 
has been added to them to fulfill more completely the 
prophecy. Two of the phrases on the cross which do 
not belong to the most ancient tradition (since Luke 
is the only one to record them) have their origin in 
prophecy. It is said of the Servant of the Eternal, 
"He interceded for the guilty" (Isa. liii. 12). Luke at- 
tributes to the crucified Jesus this prayer: "Father, 
forgive them, for they know not what they do" " 
(xxiii. 24) ; and at the moment where Mark (xv. 37) 
and Matthew (xxvii. 50) relate that Jesus expired in 
giving a loud cry, Luke puts into His mouth the sen- 
tence, inspired direct from the Psalms (xxxi. 6) : 
"Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit" 
(xxiii. 46). 

In John's Gospel the episode of the spear-thrust 
(xix. 31-37) fulfills that which the Law prescribed re- 
garding the paschal lamb, whose bones must not be 
broken (Exod. xii. 10-46; Num. ix. 12; cp. Psa. 
xxxiv. 21 ). The evangelist remarks: "This was done 
in order that the Scripture should be fulfilled : A bone 
of His shall not be broken" (xix. 36, 37). This in- 
fluence of prophecy may have also reacted upon certain 
narratives of the common tradition. The forty days' 
fast in the desert (Mark i. 13; Matt. iv. 2; Luke iv. 
2) suggest, notwithstanding the different circum- 
stances, the forty days which Moses passed before the 

There is, furthermore, reason to doubt the primitive character 
of this sentence in Luke. The verse 34 of Chapter zxiii is lacking, in 
fact, in certain good texts (Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, Codex Cantabri- 
giensis, and others), and no reason can be seen to explain its sup- 


Lord (Exod. xxiv. 18 and xxxiv. 28), or the forty 
years during which the Israelites ate manna in the 
desert (Exod. xvi. 35). 16 The idea of the Spirit de- 
scending upon Jesus at the moment of baptism (Mark 
i. 10; Matt. iii. 16; Luke iii. 22; cp. John L 32, 33) 
might have as its origin the passage in Isaiah. "The 
Spirit of God shall rest upon Him" (xi. 2), It is not 
impossible that the crucifixion of the two robbers 
(Mark xv. 27) may have been suggested by Isaiah 
(liii. 12), "He was numbered among the transgres- 
sors." 17 With the cases which we have been citing may 
be compared those where some distortion or adapta- 
tion of certain narratives has taken place under the 
influence of a prophecy. 

In the account of the entry into Jerusalem the four 
evangelists represent the ovation made to Jesus in the 
form of the messianic acclamation in Psa. cxviii. 25, 

The announcement of the treachery of Judas seems 
to have been made during a repast, because a passage 
in Psa. xli. io 18 has been taken literally: "He who 

16 The accounts of the temptation in Matthew and Luke abound 
with citations from the Old Testament It n not, however, certain 
that they are creations of prophetic exegesis They must evidently 
be taken for symbolical narratives, which leads one to consider what 
the influence of the Old Testament could have been upon Jesut 

* 7 Luke (xxii. 37) certainly quote* this passage, but not directly 
concerning the crucifixion of the two thieves. The account we men- 
tioo has been considered from antiquity as proved, that in certain 
manuscripts of Mark there is to be read: "Thus was fulfilled the 
word of the Scripture: He was numbered among the transgressors" 
a version which it is impossible to consider as primitive (Mark 
xv. 28). 

18 R. Bultmann seems to us to go too far in explaining the formation 
of the accounts concerning Judas to the influence of this psalm. The 
tradition, which plainly tends to glorify the apostles, would not hare 


has eaten My bread has raised his heel against Me. 11 
Mark states that Jesus during the meal declared : "One 
of you will betray Me he who dips his hand with Me 
into the dish." Matthew relates this, presenting the 
episode in the form "he who dips his hand with Me 
into the dish" as an act actually performed at that 
very moment, introducing in this way into the account 
the designation of the traitor. Luke also refers to a 
gesture; his account, however, does not involve the 
personal designation of the traitor. John has combined 
the two traditions, placing side by side a public an- 
nouncement of the treachery (xiii. 18-22) with a 
designation of the traitor Judas in words spoken aside 
(verses 23-26). After this Judas, into whom Satan 
had entered, rises from the table according to the re- 
quest which Jesus had made to him to do quickly that 
which he had to do (verses 27-30). The Synoptic 
Gospels, which all agree in presuming that Judas was 
present at the beginning of the evening, do not state 
that he left Jesus and His companions. Nevertheless, 
at the Mount of Olives he is at the head of those who 
come to arrest Jesus. His departure is too important 
for tradition to allow it to pass without a word. 19 In 
its primitive form the tradition could not have pre- 
sumed the presence of Judas, and it is perhaps the fact 
of his absence at this time which gave substance to the 
suspicions that Jesus must have had, and which re- 
vealed to Him the knowledge that the circle of His 
enemies was closing up around Him, and that He 

imagined the betrayal by one of them of Jesus (Geschichte der wan- 
oclischen Tradition). 

i 9 John is so much aware of this importance that he expressly 
mentions the departure of Judas, and takes the trouble to explain why 
this departure did not surprise the other disciples (xiii. 27-30). 


would no longer be able to escape them. It is because 
the expression borrowed from the psalmist had been 
taken literally that the presence of Judas at the last 
repast has been presumed. 

The account of the insults which the passers-by 
threw at Jesus when crucified (see Mark, Matthew 
and Luke) betrays by the use of certain words 20 the 
influence of Psa. xxii. 8 ; and Matthew has emphasized 
this by introducing the words which recall verse 9 of 
the same psalm: "He trusted in God; let God deliver 
Him now if He will have Him" (xxvii. 43). Never- 
theless the entire scene cannot have its sole origin in 
the psalm. 

The episode of the vinegar given to Jesus at the 
moment He was about to expire is important to con- 
sider. Mark recounts that after Jesus had cried out, 
"Eloi I Eloi ! Lama sabachtanei ?" certain among those 
present said, "He is calling upon Elias"; another, 
soaking a sponge with vinegar and offering it to Him, 
said: "Let be; let us see if Elias will deliver Him." 
This scene is enigmatical in that it attributes contra- 
dictory sentiments to those standing by the derision 
implied in the sneer about Elias and the pity which 
inspired the gesture of the one who offered the sponge. 
Vinegar was the usual beverage of the soldiers, and 
Jesus was only offered some in order to procure Him 
some slight relief. The intervention of the second 
soldier tends to hinder the compassionate gesture of 
the first. Matthew (xxvii. 47~49) has hcre slightly 
modified the account of Mark, and in so doing he has 
transformed the significance of the scene. It is one 
of those who had uttered the sarcasm who offers the 

20 See Mark XT. 29; Matt xxvii. 39; Luke zxiii. 35. 


vinegar to Jesus. His action thus becomes a gesture of 
derision, and that is probably because Matthew had 
been influenced by the passage in Psa. Ixix. 22: "To 
assuage my thirst, they make me drink vinegar." 21 

In John's Gospel (xix. 28, 29) the episode is trans- 
formed under the influence of the prophecy. At the 
moment He was about to expire, Jesus said, in order 
that the Scripture might be fulfilled, "I thirst" 22 ; it is 
then that He is offered a sponge soaked in vinegar. 

Let us point out another detail. Both Mark and 
Matthew state that during the crucifixion the women 
stood looking on some distance away. To the women 
Luke adds the friends of Jesus, possibly to avoid the 
appearance of the disciples being disinterested in the 
fate of their Master, but doubtless also under the in- 
fluence of two passages in the Psalms: u My friends 
and my acquaintances forsake me ... my kindred re- 
main apart" (xxxviii. 12) and "Thou hast removed my 
friends far from me" 23 (Ixxx. 9). 

The examples just cited bring into prominence the 
fact that prophecy suggested, or at least influenced, 

21 In the Gospel of Peter (xvi) it is evidently with the object of 
magnifying the sufferings of Jesus that He is made to drink vinegar 
mixed with gall. 

22 The evangelist seems to think of this passage in Psa. xxii. 16; 
"My strength is dried up like clay and my tongue cleaves to the 

28 Perhaps it is convenient to mention, to complete these remarks, 
certain rather superficial resemblances which the evangelists do not 
appear to haA-e noticed for example, the false witnesses at the trial 
of Jesus (Psa xxvn 12, xxxv 11, cix 2) This is a detail which 
naturally had its place in the narrative of the sufferings of an in- 
nocent person. We may also mention the silence of Jesus before 
His judges (cp. Isa lui. 7; Psa. xxxviii. 14, 15). Besides, the silence 
of Jesus is not complete Even the Gospel of Peter, which expressly 
lays emphasis on it, relates one remark of Jesus spoken on the cross 


certain Gospel narratives. We must now consider an- 
other series of facts in which the influence of prophecy 
does not seem to us in any way to exclude historical 


In certain instances the influence of the Old Testa- 
ment has been exercised, not on the narratives, but on 
the facts themselves, by inspiring certain actions, senti- 
ments, or sayings of Jesus. His thought and His pity 
were nourished by the Old Testament, particularly by 
the prophecies and the Psalms. He was constantly in- 
spired by them, and devoted Himself to fulfilling the 
program which He there found traced out. In the 
oldest account of the baptism of Jesus that in the 
Gospel of Mark there is a reference to a vision of 
Jesus when He acquires the belief of being the Son 
of God. 24 It is Jesus who sees the clouds opening and 
who hears the celestial words. It is not astonishing 
that the experience then realized by Him was ex- 
pressed in a phrase inspired by various passages of 
the Old Testament, particularly by the verse of Psa. 
ii. 7: "Thou art My Son; this day have I begotten 
Thee. 11 25 

* 4 In Matthew and Luke the vision becomes an objective revela- 
tion for the people. Its evolution in John is still more advanced when 
the scene of the baptism is replaced by a sign given to John the 
Baptist, who states who it is whose coining he had announced without 

* In passing may be noted the influence of a Sam. vii. 14, and for 
the explanation of the term "well beloved" that of Isa. xlv. 4. What 
is said concerning the baptism may be repeated in regard to the 
phrase which accompanies the Transfiguration (Mark ix. 7, etc.), 
where the partial influence of Deut xviiL 15 and Isa. xlv. 4 may be 


In several episodes, as in the preaching of Jesus at 
Nazareth (Luke iv. 16-30) and the reply to the mes- 
sengers of John the Baptist (Matt xi. 2-6 and Luke 
vii. 18-23), the ministry of Jesus is expressly por- 
trayed as the accomplishment of the Messianic pro- 
gram in Isaiah (xxxv. 5, Iviii. 6, Ixi. i, 2,). If it be 
granted that Jesus was persuaded He was called by 
God to carry on His work and to be His Messiah 
(with which important point we shall deal later), then 
these episodes explain themselves, and there is no 
necessity at all to attribute a purely literary origin to 
them. The narrative of the entry of Jesus into Jeru- 
salem is the staging of the prophecy of Zechariah: 
"Be joyful, O daughter of Zion! Shout for joy, O 
daughter of Jerusalem I Behold thy King cometh unto 
thee, just and victorious. He is humble and rideth upon 
an ass upon an ass and the foal of an ass" (Zech. 
ix. 9). 

Doubtless Matthew has exaggerated (xxi. 8) in 
speaking of a great multitude who acclaimed Jesus. 
Mark has the Greek word which may signify "some," 
and it is probable that it was solely from the little band 
who accompanied Jesus that the ovation came. 

The incident must have passed almost unobserved, 
and this it is which explains the absence of any allusion 
to it either in the contests of Jesus with the Scribes 
and Pharisees or in the account of His trial. Jesus 
was inspired by the idea of the humble and gentle 
Messiah which He found in Zechariah, and so He 

observed. It should, however, be noted that the history of the Trans- 
figuration, as we possess it, appears to be the end of a fairly com- 
plex evolution. 


organized His entry into the Holy City to make of it 
the fulfillment of the prophet's words. 

The purification of the Temple, as recounted in 
Mark, rests upon the contrast of two prophetic texts 
that of Isa. Ivi. 7, which portrays the Temple as a 
house of prayer for all nations, and that of Jer. vii. 1 1, 
which accused the Jews of having made of it a den 
of thieves. To grant that Jesus was more impressed 
by these two texts, and forced to act by the words in 
the Psalm (Ixix. 10), 'The zeal for Thine house hath 
eaten me up," which the fourth Gospel (ii. 17) quotes 
in reference, is more natural than to suppose that these 
texts have only been remarked and illustrated by tra- 
dition. 26 The reply of Jesus to the adjuration of the 
high priest, "Ye shall see the Son of man seated at the 
right hand of power and coming upon the clouds of 
heaven" (Mark xiv. 62; cp. Matt. xxvi. 64 and Luke 
xxii. 69), is inspired directly from Daniel (vii. 13). 
This reply is no creation of tradition, but an authentic 
declaration of Jesus, for the idea of resurrection upon 
the third, or after three days (current in primitive 
Christianity), is not found in it. What is found is the 
idea of the return upon the clouds of heaven an idea 
doubtless often met with in the most ancient Church, 
but which was never separated from faith in the resur- 

Finally we shall cite a last example characteristic 

* It cannot be objected against the historical veracity of the inci- 
dent of the purification of the Temple that the intervention of Jesus 
had oo direct serious consequences for Him, while, nevertheless, it 
was a provocation offered to the Jewish authorities The latter, in- 
deed, could not reprove Jesus for what was a proof of zeal for the 
Temple. Indirectly, however, the censure of the authorities implied 
in the action of Jesus must have had its influence upon the measures 
taken against Him later. 


of the influence of the Old Testament on Jesus Him- 
self. At the moment He was about to expire upon the 
cross He gave expression to the despair filling His soul 
by the sentence borrowed from Psa. xxii. "My God! 
My God! why hast Thou forsaken Me?" and the 
words were spoken in Aramean (Mark xv. 34 and 
Matt. xxvi. 40) . Although it is not possible to know 
given the absence of friends or disciples of Jesus from 
the foot of the cross how the memory of these words 
could have been preserved, we are unable to see in 
them a creation of Christian tradition. Indeed, they 
express an idea (that of Jesus abandoned by God) 
which is quite opposed to the way the ancient Church 
conceived the relations between Jesus and God. Tra- 
dition may have preserved such a phrase, but it is im- 
possible to imagine that it invented it. John has not 
repeated it, and Luke himself has replaced this ex- 
clamation of despair by a declaration of perfect and 
filial abandonment to the divine hand: "Father, into 
Thy hands I commend My spirit" (xxiii. 46). 



There is still a third series of facts to examine. 
These are the facts in which the correspondence of 
the Gospel record with the Old Testament has only 
been noticed "a posteriori" during a secondary stage of 
the Gospel tradition. Its discovery took place during 
the course of the search for proofs drawn from the 
Old Testament, which the necessities of apologetic de- 
fense at an early date imposed upon the preachers of 
the Gospel. In these cases also the concordance of his- 


tory with prophecy is not a proof of their nonhistor- 
ical character. The agreement, besides, most fre- 
quently only extends to general features, and possesses 
nothing very characteristic. 

Matthew is particularly given to recognizing the 
fulfillment of prophecies in the Gospel history. In the 
cures made by Jesus at Capernaum (viii. 16, 17) he 
finds the accomplishment of the words of Isaiah 
(liii. 4) : "He took upon Himself our infirmities and 
bore the burden of our diseases." (In the way Matthew 
cites this passage of Isaiah there is no trace of expia- 
tory or substitutionary suffering.) The cures of the 
demoniacs also fulfill Isaiah (xlii. 1-4)- The theory of 
parables 27 is based upon Isa. vi. 9, 10 and upon Psa. 
Ixxviii. 2 texts which are not cited by Mark in this 

Sometimes it is at a period prior to the composition 
of Mark's Gospel that the interpretation of history 
by prophecy is made. This is the case, for instance, in 
the application of the prophecy of Isaiah (xl. 3) to 
John the Baptist (see Mark i. 3 ; Matt. iii. 3; Luke iii. 
4; John i. 23), or that of Malachi (iii. i) (see Mark 
i. 2; Matt. xi. 10 ; Luke vii. 27). 

It is naturally to the history of the Passion (the first 
part of the Gospel history which may have been com- 
piled, and that which manifestly had the greatest im- 
portance for Christians) that it was specially sought to 
apply prophetic interpretation. 

27 The idea that the parable was a method in use by Jesus to dis- 
guise His thought from noninitiates must be regarded as a creation 
by tradition or by Mark (iv. 11, 12). This theory owes its origin to 
the idea that if Jesus was not understood it is because He did not 
desire to be understood. In reality the parable was a method of ex- 
position adapted to the popular audiences to whom Jesus appealed* 


It frequently happens that a text from the prophets 
or the Psalms describes a situation of a fairly general 
character for instance, that of the righteous man sur- 
rounded by enemies who puts his trust in God and is 
cruelly maltreated. We should not be able, however, 
to conclude from the comparisons made by the primi- 
tive Church between these facts and the sufferings of 
Jesus that the idea itself of these sufferings was found 
in the Psalms or the prophets. The passage is familiar 
in which Plato paints the lot of the persecuted upright 
man, maltreated and finally nailed to the cross (Plato, 
Republic). No one, however, would dream of deriving 
the history of the Passion from the text of the Re- 
public. The Christians who read the Old Testament 
with the conviction that the history of Jesus was fore- 
shadowed there did not fail to note that what was said 
of the persecuted righteous man applied admirably to 
Jesus. Their attention had been particularly drawn to 
Psa. xxii., of which Jesus upon the cross had cited a 
verse. They did not fail to emphasize in the records 
which they gave of the Passion the similitudes in 
their eyes providential which they discovered therein. 

A very simple criterion enables us to recognize these 
harmonies established a posteriori and to distinguish 
them from those which are explicable as history 
evolved from a prophecy. In the latter the con- 
cordance is perfect, starting from the oldest accounts, 
and it is generally emphasized by a quotation. On the 
other hand, when the harmony between the prophecy 
and the story has only been recognized after the fact, 
as a rule it is only by degrees that it has gained pre- 
cision. It is possible to follow the progress of the as- 
similation by comparing the various forms of the tra- 


dition with each other. One example will illustrate 
our point. Mark (xv. 24) states that after Jesus had 
been crucified the soldiers who had carried out the 
sentence shared His garments among them, drawing 
lots for them. 28 In ancient times the clothing of the 
victims belonged to the executioners 29 ; there is, there- 
fore, in the detail given nothing out of the ordinary, 
and the first narrators who related it merely desired to 
illustrate their story by a concrete detail. Later on 
it was observed that in Psa. xxii. the righteous man 
persecuted had said: "They parted my garments 
among them and drew lots for my vesture" ; and thus 
had a detail of the story of the Passion been proph- 
esied by the psalmist. Matthew, who, as we have 
recalled, attached so much importance to the realiza- 
tion of the prophecies in the Gospel story, had not 
yet remarked this concordance, since he makes no 
reference to the psalm. 80 The fourth evangelist has 
not only noticed and emphasized the words of the 
psalmist, but what is more, referring the two parallel 
expressions of the psalm to two different actions, he 
has made a distinction between the drawing of lots 
for the robe 81 and the sharing of the garments, justi- 
fying the procedure by the fact that the robe of Jesus 

Matthew (xxvii. 35) and Luke (xxiii 34) say the same thing. 

* 9 Fulda, Das Kreuz und die Kreutigung. 

**One is unable, indeed, to consider as authentic the received text 
which adds at the end of Matthew's account, "In order that it might 
be fulfilled as spoken by the prophet, they parted my garments among 
them and drew lots for my robe." This reading is only attested by 
certain Western manuscripts based upon certain forms of the Latin, 
Syrian and Armenian versions. It is an addition which comes from 
John six. 24. 

"Just as Matthew (xxi. 7), interpreting Zechariah literally, rep- 
resents Jesus as riding upon an ass and on its foal as the same time 
(Zech. ix. 9). 


was without any seam * 2 (John xix. 23-24). Complete 
harmony with the prophecy only exists here at the end 
of the development of the record. It would have been 
entirely different if the episode had been inspired from 
the words in the psalm. The problem of the relation 
between prophecy and the Gospel history thus appears, 
when we attempt to get close to the subject, vastly 
more complex than the dilemma formulated by 
M. Reinach would assume. 


Let us now leave aside the problem of the general 
relation between history and prophecy in order to ex- 
amine the essential thesis stated by M. Reinach 88 and 
endorsed by M. Couchoud. 84 Their thesis is that in 
Psa. xxii the idea of the crucifixion is found, and par- 
ticularly in verse 17, as given in the Septuagint version: 
"A crowd of dogs encircled me; a band of malefactors 
surrounded me. They pierced my hands and my 
feet." S5 

32 Similar to the robe of the high priests (Josephus, Antiquities, 
iii). The seamless robe of the high priest may have its origin in the 
interpretation of Leviticus. It is possible the fourth evangelist may 
hint here at speculations analogous to those made by Philo concern- 
ing the sacerdotal robe which is assimilated to the Logos (De f r m 
fugiis, 20). 

33 Salomon Reinach, Le Verse 17 du Psaume xxii. 

4 Couchoud, Le Mysore de Jesus. M Couchoud does not seem to 
know M. Reinach's works, since he does not quote them. 

88 The Hebrew text, very probably corrupted, runs: "A band of 
scoundrels prowls around me, as a lion to seize my hands and my 
feet." The Bible du Centenaire gives up the translation of the 
last line and has the following note: "The text runs: Mike a lion my 
hand and my feet/ which yields no acceptable meaning The ancient 
versions run: they have pierced (Greek), or they have bound (He- 
braic Psalmbook of Jerome), or they have insulted (second version, 


If this passage of the psalmist were really the source 
of the belief in the crucifixion of the Messiah, it is sur- 
prising that it has not been cited in connection with 
the event before the time of Justin Martyr. 88 But this 
is not all, nor is it even the essential point. If we look 
at the totality of the tradition we find that the Psa. 
xxii was first applied to Jesus in an Aramean context, 
since Mark (xv. 34) and Matthew (xxvii. 46) relate 
that it was in Aramean that Jesus when on the cross 
cried aloud: "Eloi! Eloi! Lama Sabachthanei" that 
is. "My God! My God! why hast thou forsaken 
Me?" 8T Now, in the Hebraic text of the psalm no 
allusion to the crucifixion is to be discovered. The 
Palestinian tradition know of no interpretation which 
referred to it, since Aquila, Symmachus and Jerome 
have translated by "they have bound" the words which 
the Septuagint has rendered by "they have pierced." 8S 
It was, therefore, only at a secondary stage of the 
evolution of the tradition that it was possible to dis- 
cover in this psalm a passage relating to the punish- 
ment of the cross. 

Aquila, Midrasch) my hands and my feet* These read therefore 
'ka'rou,' instead of 'ka'an' (like a lion). ThU verb in any case can- 
not mean 'they have pierced' as the current version has it" 

Justin Martyr (I Apol, 35) is the first author who has applied 
Psa. xxii. 17 to the story of the Passion In the New Testament are 
to be found several citations or reminiscences of this psalm; none 
relates either directly or indirectly to the story of the Passion. We 
have already pointed out the influence exerted by the psalm on cer- 
tain details of the story of the crucifixion. 

7 It is not possible to explain this fact as an effort of the narrator 
to give his account an archaic color, since the use of the Aramaic 
language is confirmed by the fact that the soldiers believed Jesut had 
invoked Elijah. 

as see Loisy, Revue d'histoire ft dt litleraturt riliguusei, 1913. 


Would it have been discovered if it had not been 
known in advance that it must have been there that 
is, if the very idea of the crucifixion had not been 
anterior to the interpretation of the psalm? MM. 
Reinach and Couchoud have no doubt of it. The read- 
ing of the psalm does not appear to confirm their 
opinion. In its entirety Psa. xxii is the cry of anguish 
from a man surrounded by enemies and threatened 
from every quarter. His situation seems desperate, 
but notwithstanding he still hopes and places his con- 
fidence in God. He recalls the deliverance formerly 
accorded by Jehovah: "Thou dost inhabit the sanc- 
tuary. Thou art the glory of Israel. In thee did our 
fathers trust. They had confidence and Thou didst de- 
liver them. They cried unto Thee and were saved. 
They put their trust in Thee and were not deceived 1 ' 
(verses 4-6). In the verses which follow (7-9) the 
wretched man describes his misery, and then gives his 
reasons to hope: "Yea, it is Thou who hast brought 
me forth from the womb of my mother. ... Go not 
far from me, for I am in tribulation. Come nigh unto 
me, for there is none to help me." 39 (See verses 

After the verses 13-19, which describe the situa- 
tion of the afflicted one, there comes an invocation to 
Jehovah: "But Thou, Jehovah, be not far from me I 
Thou art my strength; hasten to help me ! Deliver my 
life from the sword. My only Good, 40 (deliver me) 

"That is to say, "Thou has adopted me from my birth." He who 
received the new-born child on his knees (whether natural or adopted 
father) recognized the child as his own by that fact (sec Gen, 1. 
23; cp. Gen. xlviii. 12 and Job iii. 12). 

40 Poetical expression signifying the life, the soul (sec Psa, 



from the dog. 41 Save me from the jaw of the lion. 1 ' 
(See verses 20-22). 

The psalm ends in the praise of Jehovah, who has 
delivered the one who called upon Him : "I will pro- 
claim Thy name unto my brethren, and will praise Thee 
in the midst of the congregation. Ye who fear Jehovah 
praise Him. . . . Let all the race of Israel tremble 
before Him. For He has not spurned nor rejected the 
prayer of the afflicted ; neither has He turned away His 
face from him" (verses 23-25). 

If the desire had been to interpret in one narrative 
the subject matter of the psalm, one would have spoken 
of an afflicted man threatened by his enemies, but whom 
God marvelously protects from their assaults. With- 
out doubt it may be understood that the deliverance 
means the resurrection, and this is what Messianic 
exegesis has done. But would this interpretation be 
given unless the reading of this psalm was begun with 
the conviction that in it was related the story of the 
death and resurrection of Jesus? Besides, do the words 
"they have pierced my hands and my feet" constitute 
a very distinct allusion to the crucifixion? When the 
cross is referred to, there are brought into prominence 
the two notions of hanging and exposure on the cross. 
The fixing of hands and feet by means of nails did not 
itself cause death it was only an accessory to the 
punishment. Furthermore, it is by no means certain 
that the hands of the victim were always fixed by nails ; 
as for the feet, it is more doubtful still. The arch- 
aeologist, Victor Schultze, writes: "As regards the 

41 Literally, "against the hand of the dog." (This note and the two 
preceding it are borrowed from the Bible du Cenienaire.) 


means employed (the cross properly so called), stake 
or gibbet, and for the method of attaching the victim 
thereto, the executioners seem to have had the greatest 
liberty allowed. Ropes alone were used, or ropes and 
nails. In these latter cases sometimes the hands only, 
and sometimes hands and feet, were fixed by nails." 4a 
Dom Leclercq, whom no one will suspect of treating 
tradition with lack of respect, writes : "The condemned 
approached the gibbet, to which he was bound, his 
hands on the crosspiece and his feet placed upon a 
small board." As for nails, the learned Benedictine 
does not even mention them. 48 In fact, the most an- 
cient Gospel tradition makes no mention of nails. 
There is a reference to them for the first time in the 
Johannine account of the Resurrected One, 44 Thomas 
having said: "Unless I see in His hands 45 the marks 
of the nails, and unless I put my hand into His side, I 
will not believe." Jesus invites him to put his finger 
into His hands and his hand into His (Jesus') side 
(John xx. 25-27). The wounds in the hands appear 
then, at the same phase of the tradition as the wound 
in the side in other words, as one of the latest ele- 
ments of the Johannine narrative. 46 There is also a 

Schultze, article "Kreuz, Kreuzigung," Real Encyclop. 
Protestantische TMologie. 

Dora Leclercq, article "Croix," Diet, d' Archtologie Chriliennc, 
Paris, 1914. In the article "Clous," of the same dictionary, Dom 
Leclercq makes no reference to nails of the cross either. 

"In Luke xxiv. 39 the Resurrected One says to the disciples, 
frightened of His apparition, thinking they are in presence of a 
ghost: "See My hands and My feet. It is Ifeel Me and see. A 
spirit has not flesh and blood as ye see I have" It is not a question 
of the recognition of Jesus as the crucified, but to notice that it it a 
real being before them. 

45 This text does not speak of the feet. 

Maurice Goguel, Introd. au N.T., ii, p. 33*. 


reference to nails in the hands found in the Gospel of 
Peter (xxi) but no mention of nails in the feet is found 
before Justin Martyr (ApoL, i. 35 ). 47 

If the history of the Passion had as its principal 
source a passage where it is a question of pierced hands 
and feet, it would be very strange, it must be ad- 
mitted, that no mention of nails in the hands is found 
before the fourth evangelist 48 nor of nails in the feet 
before Justin Martyr. 49 . 

From these considerations it cannot be admitted 
that the story of the crucifixion has been drawn from 
verse 17 of Psa. xxii. It is only after the event that 
this text was related to the story of the cross. As for 
the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah, which has so greatly 
influenced Christian thought and piety, it cannot either 
be considered as one of the sources of the idea of the 
death of the Messiah and of the accounts dealing with 
it. Let us first of all remember what has already been 
pointed out, that it was only after the beginning of the 
Christian era, and under conditions which do not per- 
mit us to exclude a priori the possibility of the influ- 
ence of Christian ideas, that this chapter was inter- 

47 Fickcr believes he finds in a passage of the A eta Petn cum 
Simone, (in a reference to a young man, nude and bound) an allusion 
to the crucifixion without nails. W. Bauer remarks that the ropes 
do not necessarily exclude nails, and thus the importance (already 
dubious enough) of the passage in the A eta Petn cum Simon f is still 
further diminished. 

"Not in reference to the crucifixion, but in an account of the 
resurrection. It is known that these have been most influenced by 

In the account of Jesus' burial, Mark and Luke say that the body 
is taken down from the cross. Matthew and John say it is taken 
from the cross. The Gospel of Peter alone says that the naili are 
removed (xxi). 


prcted as relating to the Messiah. In several passages 
of the New Testament it inspired the interpretation 
given of the death of Christ, either by supplying the 
terms employed as in I Pet. ii. 22-25, or in Acts viii. 
32, etc., where the instructions given by Philip to the 
Ethiopian queen's eunuch take the form of a commen- 
tary upon Isa. liii. 7, 8, or, again, where this text has 
inspired in a more general way the formulas employed 
in John 5. 29-36, Rom. iv. 25, and i Cor. xv. 3. In all 
these passages, of which several are of a fairly recent 
date, it is not a question of the fact of the death of 
Christ, but of its significance. In Paul's own writings 
Isa. liii. I is only expressly cited in Rom. x. 16, not 
in reference to the death of Christ, but to the op- 
position against Christian preaching. 80 Elsewhere it 
has been remarked (by Schweitzer) that the ideas of 
Paul cannot be explained as due to the influence of the 
fifty-third chapter of Isaiah, because this passage de- 
velops the idea of the value of the sufferings of the 
servant of Jehovah, while Paul attributes a redeeming 
character not to the sufferings, but to the death of 

With regard to the influence of this chapter of Isaiah 
upon the narratives of the Passion, we have seen that 
it is very limited. It inspired the declaration of Jesus 
before His arrest : u This that is written must yet be 
accomplished in Me. And He was reckoned among 
the transgressors" (Luke xxii. 37), and also in Luke 
the intercession of Jesus for His executioners (xxiii. 
34; cp. with Isa. liii. 12). 

The same text IB also cited in John xii. 38, in a passage which 
is not put into the mouth of Jesus, but which contains the reflections 
of the evangelist about the failure of the ministry of Jesus. 



M. Couchoud thinks, indeed, that the idea of the 
paschal lamb exercised a profound influence on the 
genesis of the tradition concerning the death of Jesus. 
The identification of Jesus with the paschal lamb is, in 
fact, current in ancient Christianity. It is very old, 
since it is already found in the first Epistle to the Corin- 
thians. The apostle addresses the faithful, exhorting 
them to be pure, and in referring to those guilty of 
incest he points out the danger to which the Church 
will expose herself by allowing the leaven of wicked- 
ness, liable to corrupt the whole, to subsist within her. 
It is therefore necessary, he says, to purge out thor- 
oughly the old leaven, 51 and to celebrate the feast M in 
purity and in truth. u For Christ our passover is sacri- 
ficed for us" (i Cor. v. 7). 

Let us first observe that if the assimilation of the 
death of Christ to the sacrifice of the lamb was already 
current and how could it have been otherwise if it 
was the primary nucleus of tradition? it would not 
be easy to understand the precision of the explanation 
that the lamb was Christ. The Corinthians would have 
well known, without Paul being obliged to tell them 
expressly who this paschal lamb was of whom he 
wished to speak. The whole passage is figurative; it 
contains nothing to show that Paul conceived the 

"As was done in Jewish homes on the nth day of Nisan, the 
day of the preparation of the Passover 

M There if no reference here to a private feast, of which there 
it no trace in primitive Christianity, but of the Christian life, in its 
entirety, inaugurated by the death of Christ. It therefore seems to 
us very conjectural to suppose, with Johannes Weiss and others, that 
this image had been suggested to Paul by the fact that he was writ* 
iog about the time of the Passover Feast 


death of Christ under the category of the paschal lamb 
or of any other Levitical sacrifice other than as a sim- 
ple illustration. 58 It is merely an elucidation, for it is 
not as a sacrifice, but as a juridical condemnation, that 
Paul interprets the death of Christ in his doctrine of 

The assimilation of Christ to the paschal lamb is 
also found, but in conditions which indicate the influ- 
ence of yet other ideas, in the Johannine formula "the 
lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world' 1 
(John i. 29-36). 

But it is in the tradition concerning the Lord's Sup- 
per that the idea of a Christian passover is specially 
developed. The comparison was very natural, and 
suggested by the date itself of the death of Jesus. 
There is reason (as an increasing number of critics 
admit) to fix this, as indicated by the fourth Gospel, 
at the fourteenth day of Nisan 64 that is, upon the 
very day when the paschal lamb was offered in sacrifice. 
The conditions in which the idea of Christ the paschal 
lamb was developed are characteristic, and clearly 
show that we are in presence of an assimilation made 
u a posteriori." In the Synoptic Gospels the idea is 
developed by attributing to the last repast of Jesus the 
paschal character which it does not seem to have had 
in the primitive tradition 65 ; in the fourth Gospel 56 

83 In Rom. iii. 24 it is, on the contrary, to the sacrifice of the feast 
of expiation that Paul compares the death of Christ This duality 
would be difficult to understand if the crucifixion had been deduced 
from the Jewish doctrine of sacrifice. It is, on the other hand, quite 
natural if the assimilation had been made "a posteriori." 

Maurice Goguel, Les Sources du recit Johanmqut de la Passion, 

**Id. t L'Eucharistie. 

., Introd. au N.T., ii. 


the development of the idea is indicated in a portion 
belonging to the most recent stratum, where it is stated 
that the legs of Jesus were not broken, as in the case 
of the thieves, thus fulfilling the prescriptions of the 
Law concerning the paschal lamb. 57 

57 We do not speak here of Psa. xxiv, of which Paul cites a verse 
in a passage (i Cor. r 26) where there is no question at all of the 
Gospel history. M. Couchoud believes that primitive Christianity had 
found in this psalm "the lament of the Son of God, fallen into the 
hands of cruel archons." What we have said above concerning the 
passage of x Cor. ii. 8 proves that this text has not the significance 
which M. Couchoud attaches to it. 



THE Gospel tradition is presented in the form of four 
narratives, 1 whose parentage is certain and whose three 
first members are even parallel for a considerable part 
of their content. Before it is possible to come to any 
conclusion concerning this tradition there is a ques- 
tion of literary history to be solved that of the rela- 
tions which these narratives have to each other. 2 It 
is necessary to examine the group of the first three 
Gospels, known as the Synoptics, and the fourth 
separately. 8 

The most ancient of the Synoptics is the Gospel of 
Mark. It must have been composed perhaps at 
Rome at a date a little later than A.D. 70. Its author 
seems to have been of Palestine origin, perhaps the 
John Mark of whom the book of Acts speaks (Acts 

*Wc may neglect the Apocryphal Gospels, for in what has been 
preserved to us there is nothing which is not of secondary im- 
portance when compared with the Canonical Gospels 

2 For the defense in detail of the theory which we here present 
in summary we refer readers to our Introduction to the New Testa- 
ment, Parts I and II. 

Without dwelling on the fact that the attribution of the second 
Gospel to Mark cannot be regarded as rigorously proved, we shall 
call its author Mark for the sake of convenience, just as we shall 
call the authors of the three others respectively Matthew, Luke and 
John, while the attribution of the third Gospel to Luke is very 
debatable, and that of the first and fourth to Matthew and John 
it certainly not established, 



xii. 25 ). It is a work of some complexity, whose author 
has utilized traditions of different sources, doubtless in- 
serting them into the framework created by him. 

Among these sources the two best are a collection 
of narratives going back to the apostle Peter, which 
were the echo of his missionary preaching, and a selec- 
tion of discourses, the Logia, whose first origin seems 
very ancient, but of which Mark has borrowed rela- 
tively little, doubtless because he knew it was in the 
hands of readers for whom his work was designed. 

Some ten years or so after its composition the Gos- 
pel of Mark seems to have undergone some revision 
which has not perceptibly modified its general aspect. 

The Logia with which Mark was acquainted, and 
which he used with discretion, should in our opinion 
be considered rather as a collection than as a literary 
work well put together and arranged according to a 
rational plan. This collection became richer as it 
grew, and by that very fact more varied in character, 
because, as would be natural, each person inserted in 
it sayings and discourses attributed to Jesus of which 
he knew, but which had been neglected or ignored by 
the first editors. It is still possible to distinguish with 
sufficient precision three stages of the collection. The 
first, which no doubt is not the primitive form but only 
the most ancient within our reach is made up of ele- 
ments of the collection which Matthew and Luke have 
borrowed and which appear in their versions in the 
same order. It is one form of this primitive stage 
that Mark seems to have known and made use of. 
The two other stages are those which Matthew on one 
side and Luke on the other had at their disposal. To 
each must be attributed not only those portions which 


Matthew and Luke possess in common, and are want- 
ing in Mark, but also other portions which are only 
found in one of them, but belong to the same type 
as the portion common to both, 4 or which are in close 
relationship with them. 5 Some are found in the first 
and in the third Gospels in forms which differ too much 
from each other to permit of their belonging to the 
same source. 6 

The Gospels of Matthew and of Luke are, to put 
it simply, two attempts, parallel but independent of 
each other, to concentrate the Gospel tradition. Their 
authors (who appear to have worked, Luke some- 
where between the years 75 and 85 ; and Matthew be- 
tween 80 and 90) desired to write in one single work 
the two principal documents existing in their time upon 
the Gospel history: the narrative of Mark and the 
Logia. Furthermore, both gleaned from various sub- 
sidiary sources. Luke's aim, moreover, was to give a 
coherent account, complete and well arranged. His 
work thus shows an attempt to include narratives which 
originally were works of edification into the literary 
domain proper. Notwithstanding this, the Gospel of 
Luke is of the same type as those of Mark and 

The fourth Gospel must have been composed be- 
tween the years 90 and no. Although it is, like the 

4 This is the case, for instance, for a certain number of parables 
which are only found in Matthew or only in Luke. 

5 For instance, the curses only found in Luke (vi. 24-26) and which 
are in organic relationship with the Beatitudes (vi. 20-23), which 
latter are also found in Matthew (v. 3-10). 

For example, the Beatitudes in Matthew (v. 3-10) and Luke (vi. 
30-23) are in forms too widely different from each other to allow 
of the differences being explained by editorial work, but which arc, 
however, too similar to permit us to consider them at independent. 


Synoptic Gospels, an apologetic and missionary and not 
an historical work, it possesses certain features which 
are peculiar to it. It assumes that its readers not only 
are familiar with the Gospel tradition, but also that 
they have certain narratives in their hands (most prob- 
ably our Synoptic Gospels) to which it frequently 
alludes, either by explicitly correcting them on some 
points or in supposing as known to its readers certain 
facts to which it makes no allusion itself, but which arc 
recorded therein. The fourth evangelist did not claim 
to substitute his work for that of his predecessors; 
to a fairly large extent it would not be clearly intelli- 
gible without them ; he only desired, on the basis they 
offered him, to develop a certain number of medita- 
tions upon themes of the Gospel history which he has 
inserted (a fact betraying the influence of the type 
created by the Synoptics) between a narrative about 
the opening of the ministry of Jesus and one concern- 
ing the Passion. 

The objective of the fourth evangelist essentially 
theological and religious being admitted, a very deli- 
cate problem is encountered concerning the methods 
used by him. Some critics, like Jean Reville T and 
M. Loisy, 8 consider that all the deviations from the 
three first Gospels which are found in the fourth are 
explicable in terms of allegory and symbolism ; others, 
like Godet,' and Zahn, 10 and in a less absolute manner 

Reville, Le quatrieme faangile, ton engine, sa valeur hit- 

Alfred Loisy, Le quatriemt faangile. In hii second edition 
M. Loisy has modified certain points of the theory defended in the 

Frederic Godet, Commentairc tur I'Evangile dt Saint Jean. 
"Theodor Zahn, Das Evanaelium da Johanntt 


the Father Calmes, 11 think that John, in order to cor- 
rect the narratives of his predecessors, was guided by 
direct and personal experience. To a certain extent, 
however, the conservative critics agree that the souve- 
nirs of the old apostle were somewhat vague, and that 
he did not distinguish with clearness between the Jesus 
he had followed in Galilee and Judea and the ideal 
Christ who lived in his heart. None of these theories 
seems to us to take complete account of all the some- 
what complex factors of the problem. We believe that 
although he may not have attached great importance to 
historical necessities, the fourth evangelist was ac- 
quainted with data and written and oral traditions 
which it is impossible to reconstruct with precision, nor 
even to describe or date with certainty, but several of 
which show themselves to be excellent in comparison 
with the Synoptic tradition. Without having any inten- 
tion to utilize historically the sources at his disposal, 
John had borrowed data from them ; sometimes even 
it has happened that he has inserted some fragments in 
his own narrative. We should, for instance, be inclined 
to recognize some of these sources as evidence for the 
narratives which portray Jesus baptizing by the side 
of John (iii. 22), or coming to Jerusalem for the Feast 
of Tabernacles (vii. i, etc.), or as being arrested by 
the cohort led by the tribune (xviii. 3-12). These 
data are only preserved in the fourth Gospel in a 
sporadic manner, and this fact is characteristic we 
would be prepared even to say symbolical. It shows 
that the Gospel literature was not primarily interested 
in the history of the ministry of Jesus. It only pre- 
served the memory because of its religious value. 


Calmei, L'Evanoile ft Ion Saint Jean. 



Luke, at the beginning of his book, tells Theophilus, 
to whom he dedicates it, that he had undertaken to 
write it to convince his friend of the certainty of the 
things in which he had been instructed (Luke i. 4). 
John also says in his conclusion that Jesus wrought 
many miracles besides those which he has recorded, 
and he continues in these words: 'These have been 
written in order that you may believe that Jesus is the 
Christ, the Son of God, and, believing, may have life in 
His name" (xx. 31). A gospel, therefore, is before 
everything else, not a book of history, but a book of 
edification and religious teaching. History is the 
method of instruction ; it is not an object in itself. 

This is also shown by the examination of the word 
"gospel" itself. In the Greek Bible, if the word 
euanggelia 12 is only found in the material sense of 
good news, 18 the verb of the same root, euaggdizein, 
is sometimes met with and particularly in the second 
book of Isaiah having a sense which announces and 

Only in the feminine and not in the neuter, as in the Christian 
terminology. The neuter word appears for the first time in Greek. 
It is found in the plural in an inscription of Priene dating from 9 B.C. 
(text and translation in J. Rouffiac, Researches sul le Grec du N.T. 
d'apres let inscriptions de Priene). In this inscription concerning the 
introduction of the Julian calendar into Asia, Augustus is hailed as 
the "Saviour" of the world, and it is stated that "the day of the 
birth of the god was for the world the beginning of the good news 
which he brought/' It must be noted that this inscription establishes 
no relation between the term signifying "good news" and the quali- 
fication of Saviour given to Augustus. The use of the plural shows 
that what is expected from the emperor are material advantages, 
not spiritual wealth* 

13 For instance, 2 Kings xviii. 20, 22, 27; 4 Kings vii, 9. 


prepares the way for the Christian idea of the gospel. 14 
The Old Testament thus contains (at least implicitly) 
the idea of a gospel as the proclamation of a divine 
deliverance. That which invests this fact with its 
full significance is that the evangelists expressly por- 
tray the ministry of Jesus as the fulfillment of these 
prophecies. 15 

Upon Christian ground, it is with the apostle Paul 
that, so far as we know, there appears for the first time 
the word "gospel," sometimes without limitation as 
"the gospel," sometimes specialized as the "gospel of 
God," "my gospel," or the "gospel of Christ." The 
"gospel" in its unlimited sense is the doctrine preached 
by Paul, the mystery of the redemption of sinful 
humanity ransomed by the death and resurrection of 
Jesus Christ ( I Cor. xv. I ) , in this sense the gospel 
is the power of God (Rom. i. 16). From this funda- 
mental signification is derived another, that of the 
preaching of redemption (Phil. i. 7 and ii. 22). The 
gospel of God is the gospel which comes from God, 
which the apostle has been charged by Him to preach 
(Rom. i. i, xv. 1 6, etc.). As for the phrase "gospel 
of Christ," this is not to be understood in the sense of 
the teaching given by Jesus, but in that of the teach- 
ing of which Christ is the essence 16 (i Cor. ix. 12, 
etc.). The gospel, therefore, to Paul meant the 
preaching whose subject or content was Christ the Re- 
deemer. This is not a history, although the historical 
element may have its place and be at its base. It is 

i* For instance, Psa. xl 10 and xxvi. 2 ; ha. xl, 9, lii. 7 !* $ and 
Ixi. i. 

"Matt. xi. 5; Luke iv. 21, vii. 22. 

16 For the justification of this statement see Maurice Goguel, 
Introd. au. N. T. t I. pp. 25-18. 


tfcetfcme conception also found in all the other books of 
the New Testament outside the Gospels. The books 
relating the history of Jesus are called Gospels because 
they were composed, not in an historical or biograph- 
ical, but in a missionary interest. They are books of 
exposition of apostolic doctrine, preaching the Chris- 
tian faith. "Gospel of Jesus Christ 11 in Mark i. I does 
not mean a gospel preached by Jesus Christ, but a doc- 
trine whose essence and content is Jesus Christ. The 
author of the Gospel is only the interpreter of the doc- 
trine of salvation. This it is which explains the ob- 
jectivity with which works of this kind are called 
categorically "the Gospel," and the modesty with 
which their presumed authors are referred to is shown 
by the simple phrase "according to. 11 It was only at 
a relatively late period that the word "gospel" was 
interpreted in the sense which subsequently prevailed 
that is, a book which narrated the history of Jesus. 
Jesus does not appear to have used the word "gos- 
pel" Himself. 17 It is only put into His mouth by 
Matthew and Mark, 18 each upon two occasions (Mark 
xiiL 10 ; Matt. xxiv. 14; Markxiv. 9; Matt. xxvi. 13). 
In each passage the "gospel" means not the teaching 
of Jesus, but the future preaching of the apostles. In 
each it is more than doubtful whether the word 
"gospel" comes from Jesus Himself. In the first case, 
the editors have used the word which meant in the time 
they wrote "Christian teaching." As for the second, 

* 7 It it, of course, necessary to eliminate passages where the word 
"gospel" is used by the narrator (Mark i. i, 14; Matt iv. 23, is. 
25) and thote where it is plainly put into the mouth of Jesus by 
Mark (i. 15, viii. 35, x. 29), but is not found in the parallel texts 
of Matthew and Luke. 

"Luke hat no parallel to these passages. 


there are good reasons for thinking that the portion 
in which it is found (the episode of the ointment at 
Bethany) did not form part of the most primitive 
deposit of the Gospel tradition, and in the solemn 
affirmation that the act of the woman would be nar- 
rated wherever the Gospel would be preached, there 
certainly seems to be a reminiscence of the period when 
this portion did not yet form part of the Gospel. 19 

With the Apostolic Fathers and the Apologists is 
seen the rise of the idea of the gospel as narrative or 
document alongside the idea of the gospel as a doctrine. 
That which we have seen concerning the meaning of 
the word "gospel" in the first Christian generations 
shows that it was not in an historical interest that the 
traditions concerning the life and teachings of Jesus 
were collected, preserved, and committed to writing. 
The thought of the early Christians was entirely turned 
toward the future and not to the past. They expected 
the early return of Christ, whose task was to com- 
plete the work of redemption already begun, and all 
interest in organization was completely foreign to their 
minds. In so far as they had need of an authority, 
they found it in the Old Testament and in the per- 
suasion that they had been inspired and guided by the 
Spirit. Still, it was impossible that those who had 
lived in the companionship of Jesus should not care- 
fully preserve the memory of what He had been, of 
what He had said and done. For them these things 
were a source of inspiration and an example. 

When upon the morrow of the Passion a Christian 
theology began to form, the meditations of the dis- 

Maurice Gogucl, UEvanaile de Marc dans set rapports avtc ceux 
d< Matthieu ft de Luc, Paris, 1909; Introd., i. p. 298. 


ciples of Jesus were centered around an historic fact, 
the death of the Lord. This death contradicted the 
impression produced by His life and teaching, since 
it represented Him as if abandoned and even cursed by 
God. The necessity of solving this contradiction was 
for Christian thought the most powerful of stimulants. 

Jesus, for those who had lived with Him, had been 
the incarnation of the highest moral authority. They 
had formed the habit of looking to Him, of expect- 
ing His counsel, of being inspired by His example. 
He, having disappeared, the moral authority of His 
personality did not disappear; it became transformed 
and attached itself to the memory of His acts and His 

A triple interest, therefore, assured the preserva- 
tion of memoirs of the Gospel history a sentimental 
interest first of all. Those who had been in contact 
with Jesus could not let His memory fade away in 
their minds and hearts; in the next place there was 
a moral interest, the words and actions of Jesus being 
considered as offering or inspiring the solution of the 
moral and practical problems which they found facing 
them; finally there was a theological interest, for it 
was impossible to ignore what they considered the 
human episode of the grand drama of redemption. 

At the beginning, at least, no special value was 
attached to the tradition preserving a coherent history 
of the life of Jesus. From the speculative point of 
view, the sole thing of importance was the simple 
fact of His death; from the moral point of view, 
the important things were the words, the acts, the 
attitudes in which the soul of Jesus was manifested. 
Thus from the beginning the Church had need of tra- 


ditions concerning His life, but fragmentary memoirs 
were, amply sufficient for her needs. 

It is to this situation that the Epistles of Paul, for 
instance, correspond, which, as we have seen, presume 
the knowledge of many details of the Gospel history 
and the memory of many of the Master's words, but 
not a coherent, organic and systematic tradition about 
His life. Without doubt it was in a less definite form 
that the first evangelists found the substance of their 


Two facts are thus understood which strike one 
at once when the Gospel tradition and the conditions 
in which it is presented are studied. The first is that 
we have neither in the canonical tradition nor in that 
which is extracanonical any precise indication concern- 
ing the times in which the facts of Gospel history took 
place; the second is that the plan upon which this 
history is arranged in the Synoptics 20 is artificial. It 
was arbitrarily created by the first evangelist to group 
together memoirs which tradition furnished him as 
isolated units. 

It will be convenient to examine these two considera- 
tions in succession. As regards the appearance of 
Jesus in history, Paul merely says that God had sent 

20 We only speak of the first three evangelists, since from what has 
just been said it follows that it is not admissible to speak of an 
historical or geographical framework of the fourth evangelist The 
appearance of a framework is caused by the evangelist juxtaposing 
scenes and episodes by making use, as transitions between them, of 
feasts at reasons for the journeys of Jesus to Jerusalem. 


Him in the fullness of time (Gal iv. 4)- This is a 
dogmatic concept which needs to be kept in mind as 
meaning that it was in the last period of the history of 
the world (that world to which Paul had the sentiment 
of belonging) that the Gospel history is to be assigned. 
This at once shows that the absence of all chronological 
details in PauPs writings must not be interpreted as 
a proof that in his thought the drama of redemption 
was devoid of all contact with historical reality. The 
close relationship which he establishes between the 
death of Christ and His return, which he believed to 
be imminent, also proves that it could only have been 
at a quite recent period that the Gospel drama had 
taken place. 

It should be added that Paul had no reason to 
repeat in his Epistles what he doubtless on frequent 
occasions had expounded in his oral teachings concern- 
ing the death of Jesus. 

In the Gospels of Mark, Matthew and John the 
date of the death of Jesus is (indirectly, at any rate) 
indicated by the mention of Pilate, although the nar- 
rators did not mention him to give any chronological 
indication, but because of the part he had played in the 
history of Jesus. 21 The first writer in whose work 
there appears a real chronological sense is Luke, who 
indicates by a series of synchronisms (iii. I, 2) the 
period at which the ministry of John the Baptist began. 
The value of the data which he gives is a question of 
small importance. The interesting thing is that he had 
considered it necessary to give them." 

The time it the cafe with the pa if age in i Tim. vi. 13. 
"Their value hat recently been defended by Ed. Meyer and by 
C. Ctchoriut. The great uncertainty which prevent* our dependence 


The chronology of the life of Jesus presents in later 
tradition a singular vacillation. Certain authors for 
instance, M. Salomon Reinach have drawn from this 
an argument against the historical character of the tra- 
dition. Let us see how matters stand. 

Irenasus (Har., ii. 22-25) declares, basing his state- 
ment on the fourth Gospel and on the presbyters who 
had known John that is to say upon the work of 
Papias, 28 as admitted by all critics, that Jesus died 
not at the age of thirty, but at the age of fifty, 24 and 
it is certainly Irenaeus who is the authority for writers 
attesting the same belief. 26 Irenaeus is familiar with 

on these statements is that we know nothing of their origin. They 
cannot originate in Christian tradition, which, as we have seen, was 
not at the beginning interested in these questions. The fact that 
Jewish tradition, such as we know is through Josephus, has pre- 
served the memory of John the Baptist permits one to suppose, as 
does Meyer, that it is from a Jewish source that Luke has borrowed 

28 Papias, bishop of Hierapolis in Phrygia, was born doubtless 
about AD. 85. He composed, about AD. 140, a work in five books 
entitled Explanations of the Sayings of the Lord, of which Eusebius 
has preserved some fragments, and from which seem to proceed all 
the information which Irenaeus states he held from the presbyters. 
Eusebius states that Papias was a man of small mind, and indeed 
certain stories which he relates show that he must have been a very 
credulous man (Ere. History, in). 

24 The same idea is found in another treatise of Irenaeus, Th* 
Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching. 

26 Traces of an analogous conception are found in other texts, for 
example in the letter from Pilate to Claudius which constitutes the 
most ancient portion of the "Acta Pilati," in the commentary of 
Hippolytus on Dan. iv. 23, etc. M. S. Reinach also cites the fact that 
"in a whole collection of Christian works of art, sarcophagi, carvings, 
mosaics, some of which go back to the fourth century, John baptizing 
Jesus is presented as a man of about fifty years old at least, while 
Jesus is a child of ten to twelve years old. Now, according to 
Josephus, the Baptist died several years before A.D. 36. If he baptized 
in the year 30, Jesus would have been born at the earliest in the 
years 18 or 20, and dying at the age of thirty he would hare under- 
gone the Passion towards the year 50 (still under the Emperor 


the canon of the four Gospels, and attributes to it an 
absolute value, leaving no place for the Apocryphal 
Gospels, 26 It is, therefore, highly improbable that he 
was inspired by a tradition differing from theirs. His 
ideas originate in a particular interpretation of the 
Gospel data. Corssen has observed that in the very 
passage of which we are speaking Irenaeus declares 
that after His baptism Jesus came three times to Jeru- 
salem for the Passover. In this statement he is in 
flagrant contradiction with himself. Two indications 
have been found in Irenaeus which put us upon the 
track of the explanation sought for. In the first place, 
in the same passage where he gives his opinion as to 
the age of Jesus at death, Irenaeus says that He must 
have sanctified by His death all the periods of human 
life (Har., xxii). This is a dogmatic observation 
which scarcely fits in with the authority of the Gospel 
traditions which he recognizes. In the second place, 
Irena-us (ii. 22-25) relies on the authority of the 
fourth Gospel and the tradition of the presbyters who 
had known John that is, upon Papias. It is possible 
to trace the exegetical process by which the idea of 
Jesus dying at the age of fifty years has been extracted 
from the fourth Gospel. In John viii. 57 the Jews say 
to Jesus, "Thou art not yet fifty years old." There is 
evidently here no indication as to the real age of Jesus 

Claudius) " This cannot be put in accord with the tradition attested 
by Irenaeus, since the latter states that Jesus died, not at the age of 
thirty, but at fifty years. At the period from which all these works 
of art date the authority of the canonical Gospels was uncontested. 
They should be explained by the liberty which these works of art 
demanded, which it is not allowable to consider as documents capable 
of an absolutely rigorous interpretation. 

26 Concerning the opinions of I r emeus about the Gospel canon, refer 
to Ztha, Gfichichtt 4ft Ntvtutamtntlicht* Kamons. 


at the time, but Irenaeus, and no doubt the presbyters 
before him, being desirous of representing Jesus as 
sanctifying the age at which it was supposed that a man 
attained the plenitude of his powers, have understood 
this passage to suggest that Jesus was nearly fifty years 
old. 27 One other text of the Gospel may have sug- 
gested or confirmed this interpretation. In the episode 
of the purification of the Temple the Jews asked Jesus 
to justify by a miracle the authority which He had 
claimed in expelling the traders. He replied: "De- 
stroy this temple, and I will rebuild it in three days" 
(ii. 19), which remark, observes the evangelist, did not 
refer to the Temple of Jerusalem, but to the body of 
Jesus (ii. 21 ). The Jews retorted: "Forty-six years 
was this Temple in building, and Thou wilt rebuild it 
in three daysl" (ii. 20). It only required to apply 
the same symbolism to this reply of the Jews as to the 
declaration of Jesus to arrive at the same idea that 
Jesus was forty-six years old at the time of the incident 
of the purification of the Temple. 

There is, therefore, in the work of Irenaeus no tra- 
dition on behalf of which it is possible to criticize that 
of the Gospels. There are only speculations inspired 
by allegorical principles and dogmatic considerations. 
The opinion of Irenaeus and of those who followed 
him cannot be interpreted as the proof of the existence 
of doubts and hesitations concerning the current tradi- 
tion. And it is deducing from very inconsistent pre- 
mises conclusions singularly unwarranted to suppose, 
with M. Salomon Reinach, that a tradition which 
represented Jesus as dying in the reign of Claudius 
that is, after A.D. 41 could not originally have men- 

* 7 Hippocrates, according to Philo, D< opificto mundi, 105. 


tioncd Pontius Pilate, who was disgraced in A.D. 36, 
for this presumes that the most ancient narrative of 
the Passion must have contained no mention of the 
name of the Roman Procurator. The point it is neces- 
sary to remember about traditions like those of Ire- 
naeus is that during a long period the indifference was 
maintained which the first generation had shown to 
everything concerning Jesus which only possessed 
biographical interest. 


The same conclusion follows also from the fact that 
during the generation after the death of Jesus inter- 
est was centered only in isolated souvenirs, without 
any conscious attempt to form them into a coherent 
group, in harmony with the real development of facts. 
It is this which is shown by the character of the setting 
of the Synoptic Gospels. 

The Gospel of Mark is composed of an introduction 
and of four portions of which the first may be subdi- 
vided into eight sections. 

The introduction consists of three brief accounts 
of John the Baptist, the baptism, and the temptation 
of Jesus (i. 1-13). The first part (i. 14 to viii. 26) 
gives a picture of the Galilean ministry of Jesus and 
of His preaching of the Gospel to the multitudes. The 
return to Galilee, the calling of the first disciples, the 
journey to Capernaum, the itinerant preaching and the 
healing of the lepers, make up a first section which 
portrays the activity of Jesus as welcomed by the 
crowd (u 14-45). Then comes a series of conflicts 


which take place between Jesus and the Pharisees, 
ending in a cabal between these and the Herodians 
who wish to destroy Him (Chap, iii) . It is the second 
section which immediately after the opening success 
portrays the difficulties, ever increasing, until the final 
drama. The third section is a kind of interlude, Jesus 
not allowing Himself to be discouraged by the opposi- 
tion He encounters, but continuing His ministry of 
healing while He prepares the future by the institu- 
tion of the apostolate (iii. 7-19)- With the fourth 
section (iii. 20-35) the conflict becomes more acute. 
Even the kinsmen of Jesus accuse Him of being out of 
His senses, and the Pharisees declare that He is pos- 
sessed by Beelzebub. The fifth section gives a speci- 
men of the teaching of Jesus, consisting of three 
parables, accompanied by explanations and theoretical 
reflections. In this section the evangelist explains the 
failure of Jesus already announced in preceding sec- 
tions. Being unwilling to admit that this was not in- 
tentional, he develops the theory of the hardening of 
men's hearts consciously provoked, Jesus using par- 
ables designed to conceal His real thought from those 
who were not initiates (iv. 1-34)- 

A sixth section (iv. 35 to vi. 6) shows Jesus quitting 
the Galilean territory to begin His action on pagan soil 
at Gerasa. He is not, to speak exactly, ill received, 
but the time for acting upon the non-Jews has not yet 
come. The episode of Gerasa must be looked on as 
prefigurative of the Christian mission. Having re- 
turned again to Galilee, Jesus heals the daughter of 
Jairus and the woman with the issue of blood, then 
returns to Nazareth, where He is repulsed by His 


Just as after the conflicts narrated in the second 
section Jesus had prepared for the future by the insti- 
tution of the apostolate, so after His rejection at 
Nazareth He sends forth the apostles on a mission. 
To this episode there is attached in a somewhat arti- 
ficial way the narrative about the perplexity of Herod 
and retrospectively that of the death of John the 
Baptist (seventh section, vi. 6-30). The narratives 
which follow up to the close of the first part of the 
Gospel (eighth section, vi. 31 to viii. 26) show a very 
characteristic arrangement. The same episode (the 
multiplication, or rather the distribution, of loaves) 
is related twice under two forms sufficiently like one 
another to prevent any hesitation in recognizing in 
them two variants of the same theme, and it appears 
that the events which follow the second multiplication 
of loaves (the crossing of the lake, the discussion with 
the Jews, and the healing) correspond fairly closely 
with those accompanying the first. This doublet shows 
the importance which this part of the narrative had for 

The distribution of loaves has been considered to be 
the anticipation of the Lord's Supper, as a supreme 
attempt made by Jesus to win over the people who had 
not been gained to His cause either by appeals or by 
healing. 28 The failure is manifested by the Jewish 
opposition, which raises after the first distribution the 
discussion concerning the pure and the impure, and 
after the second demands from Jesus a sign from 
heaven. Henceforward the fate of the public ministry 
of Jesus was sealed failure was complete and irre- 
mediable. Jesus to some extent resigns Himself to the 

"Maurice Goguel, L'Eucharutit, p. 51. 


inevitable, and renounces all public teaching designed 
to win the people's support. 

In the second part of the Gospel (viii. 27 to x. 52) 
it is solely to His disciples that Jesus addresses Him- 
self. 29 

At the same time His teaching is about to assume a 
new character. It is no longer the Gospel of the 
Kingdom but that of the Messiah. Jesus reveals to 
His disciples the fate which awaits Him in Judea, 
and announces His resurrection to them, but they do 
not understand His teaching. After each of three 
prophecies of sufferings which form, so to speak, the 
framework of this part of the Gospel (viii. 31, 32, 
ix. 30-32 and x. 32-34) is placed a narrative in 
which the disciples* lack of intelligence is startlingly 
manifested. A peculiar importance as regards the ar- 
rangement of the Gospel of Mark belongs to the first 
passage of this second part, where the author narrates 
the confession of Peter near Caesarea Philippi (viii. 
27-30). Starting from this passage, the notion of 
the Messiahship dominates the narrative and forms 
the central subject of the teaching given to the apostles. 

The third part of the Gospel begins with the entry 
of Jesus into Jerusalem, and ends at the time when the 
Jews are preparing to form a plot against Him (xi. 
I-I3? 37)- This portion contains an account of the 
discussions between Jesus and the Jews and the teach- 
ing given to the disciples. The narratives are arranged 
in well-marked progression. After Jesus, by His 

29 The few narratives in which other personages intervene have 
their center of gravity in the special teachings that Jesus attaches 
to them for His disciples (for example in x. X7-30> r tby arc in * 
icrted in the place in which we read them because tradition located 
them in Judea (example, x. 46*52). 


solemn entry into Jerusalem (xi. i-ii) and by the 
purification of the Temple, has, so to speak, taken 
up His position, there is placed a series of discussions 
which accentuate the conflict and make it a definite 
thing. This is shown by the invectives against the 
Pharisees, which are the last words of Jesus pro- 
nounced in public (xii. 38-40). After this the evan- 
gelist narrates the teachings given by Jesus to His 
disciples touching final things (xiii. 1-37). This is a 
kind of testament which He bequeaths them. One 
single episode of this portion of the Gospel presents 
a character different from the others : it is that of the 
widow's mite (xii. 41-44), which the evangelist has 
placed here because the act, taking place in the Temple, 
could not be well put elsewhere. 

The narratives of the Passion, which form the last 
portion of the Gospel (xiv. 1-16), are so intimately 
inter-related that it is unnecessary to show that they 
form one complete group. They are linked with each 
other in a necessary way, beginning with the plot of the 
Jews up to the arrival of the women at the sepulcher, 
which they find empty. 80 

The plan upon which the Gospel of Mark is ar- 
ranged has a triple character: it is psychological, since 
it rests upon the idea of the development of the Jewish 
opposition and the disciples' lack of intelligence; it is 
logical and chronological, since it shows in the events 
the reaction after the welcome given to Jesus; it is 

80 The Gospel of Mark gives no accounts of apparitions of the 
Resurrected One, its end having disappeared at an early date. Those 
which are read in the received text have been added afterwards by 
a man acquainted with the other Gospels. According to a statement 
made by the Armenian work of Edsduniadzin, this person was the 
presbyter Aristion. 


geographical, since it divides the history of Jesus into 
three great periods : Galilean ministry, itinerant minis- 
try, and Jerusalem ministry. 

It is on the plan adopted by Mark that the narra- 
tives of Matthew and Luke also rest, and nothing per- 
haps shows better than this fact the dependence of 
the first and third evangelists upon the second. Both, 
however, have been obliged to modify to a certain 
extent the arrangement adopted by Mark so as to en- 
able them to introduce into their narratives the ele- 
ments they wished to add to those given by him. 

In the immense majority of cases the portions bor- 
rowed by Matthew from Mark are found in his work 
in the same order. As in Mark, the account is divided 
into two portions by the episode of Csesarea Philippi. 
But in the first portion Matthew has not reproduced 
the somewhat elaborate composition which we find in 
Mark. This is not because he has represented the 
order of events differently, but the ordering of Mark's 
work was much too compact to permit the insertion 
of elements which Matthew desired to add. 

The Gospel of Matthew opens by an introduction 
(i. i to iv. ii ) which, in addition to what is given in 
the Gospel of Mark, contains the gospel of the infancy, 
but in a somewhat detailed way as regards John the 
Baptist and the temptation. 

The account of the Galilean ministry (iv. 2 to xvi. 
12) is divided into four sections. The first (iv. 2 to ix. 
34) is formed, after a short preamble, by two pictures: 
the preaching by words (v. i to vii. 29) and the 
preaching by deeds (viii. i to ix. 34), which illustrate 
the two terms, "preaching and healing," employed in 
iv. 23 to characterize the activity of Jesus. The Ser- 


mon on the Mount (v. I to vii. 29) has been inserted 
as a specimen of the teaching of Jesus at the place in 
Mark's Gospel where for the first time the teaching 
had been referred to 81 (Mark i. 21, 22). The pic- 
turc of the activity of Jesus consists of a series of por- 
tions borrowed either from Mark or from other 
sources ; it is arranged in such a way as to illustrate the 
reply of Jesus to the question of the Baptist: "The 
blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the 
deaf hear, the dead are raised" (xi. 5). This picture 
is drawn with a certain objectivity in the sense that 
the evangelist does not relate the impression which 
the acts of Jesus produced. 

It is in the second section (ix. 35 to x. 42) that the 
welcome given to Jesus is shown in relief. In the first 
place, by anticipation on the order followed by Mark, 
we have the sending forth of the disciples on a mission, 
and reproduced according to the Logia and not accord- 
ing to Mark, the discourse which accompanies their 
departure. It is specially the idea of the difficulties 
that the missionaries will encounter and the hostility 
which will assail them which is developed (ix. 35 to 
x. 42); then comes, after a note about the itinerant 
preaching (xi. i), the question of the messengers sent 
by John the Baptist to Jesus, followed by the testimony 
of Jesus to John, the phrase about the Kingdom of 
God suffering violence, and the parable of the children 
(xi. 2-19). These portions show the forerunner him- 
self losing faith. The words concerning John the 

81 The correspondence is made evident by the fact that the im- 
pression produced by the Sermon on the Mount is characterized by 
Matthew in exactly the same terms that Mark had employed in 
reference to the teaching in the Capernaum synagogue. 


Baptist are immediately followed by the malediction 
pronounced upon the unbelieving Galilean towns, and, 
whether it be that the evangelist did not wish (xi. 
20-24) to terminate this portion by a note exclusively 
negative, or whether he merely copied the arrangement 
of his source, there comes next the doxology upon the 
revelation made unto infants (xi. 25-27) and the call 
to the weary and heavy laden (xi. 28-30). In Chap- 
ter xii Matthew takes up again the thread of the narra- 
tive of Mark with the two accounts about the disputes 
concerning the Sabbath (xii. 1-14) and a general no- 
tice about the healings accomplished by Jesus and of 
the crowds who came to Him (xii. 15-21). Still fol- 
lowing Mark, he relates next the accusation of posses- 
sion by evil spirits and the reply of Jesus (xii. 22-50), 
but in a more developed form. Then comes the chap- 
ter of parables (xiii. 1-52), which, although in a 
manner less obvious than in Mark, has also the charac- 
ter of a theoretical reflection upon the failure of 
Jesus. 82 The rejection of Jesus at Nazareth brings us 
to the end of this section (xiii. 53-5 8 )- For the third 
section (perplexity of Herod and death of John the 
Baptist, xiv. 1-13) and for the fourth (the group of 
the multiplication of loaves, xiv. 13 to xvi. 12) the 
narrative of Matthew is exactly parallel to that of 
Mark. 88 

82 The parables given by Mark are completed by others which 
come from the Logia. The dependence of Matthew upon Mark it 
evidenced by the fact that the explanation of the parable of the 
tares, which has no equivalent in Mark, is put after the conclusion 
of the teaching in parables, and separated in a not very natural 
way from the parable itself (xiii. 24-30). In essentials it appcart 
to correspond with the parable of the sower in Mark.^ 

88 Exception is made of the addition and suppression of tome 
unimportant details. 


In the second part of the Gospel, extending from 
Peter's confession to the healing of the blind men at 
Jericho (xvi. 13 to xx. 34), Matthew follows very 
closely the narrative of Mark. In no detail has he 
any different order. He confines himself to omitting 
two short passages (Mark ix. 38-41 and 49, 50) and 
to adding some others. 84 

The relationship of Matthew's narrative with that 
of Mark in the third part, which deals with the Jeru- 
salem ministry, is the same as in the second. One 
single passage has not been introduced, namely that of 
the widow's mite (Mark xii. 41-44). On the other 
hand, Matthew has added some portions. In the 
account of the Passion and the resurrection, which con- 
stitutes the fourth and last part of the Gospel (xxvi. 
I to xxviii. 7), there is neither omission nor trans- 
position to be noted, but only the addition of certain 
elements of clearly secondary importance. 

Finally, Matthew continues his narrative beyond the 
point at which (for us) Mark stops; he finishes his 
work by the narrative of the apparition in Galilee and 
of the mission given by Jesus to His disciples (xxviii. 
8-20) . It is thus only in the first part of his narrative 
that Matthew diverges sensibly from the arrangement 
adopted by Mark. This he does for two reasons to 
incorporate in his narrative the substance of the Logia 
and to group in compact groups the similar elements 
furnished by either of the two sources at his disposal. 

The introduction of new matter has not led in 
Luke's Gospel, as in that of Matthew, to a transforma- 

84 Some are combined of narratives derived from Mark (xvi. 
17-19, xvii. 20, xviii. 4), and others are inserted between the nar- 
rativet borrowed from Mark (xvii. 24-27, yiii. io-35 ** 1-16). 


tion or retouching of the primitive plan. The new 
matter is, generally speaking, intercalated in the struc- 
ture of the second Gospel. Luke opens his work with 
a dedication to Theophilus, in which he explains the 
object he has in view (i. 1-4). Then comes the intro- 
duction (i. 5 to iv. 13), consisting of two elements, a 
gospel of the infancy differing from that of Matthew 
(i. 5 to ii. 52) and the narratives concerning John the 
Baptist, the baptism and temptation of Jesus, this last 
narrative being preceded by a genealogy (iii. i to iv. 
13). The first part of the Gospel of Luke contains 
the account of the Galilean ministry of Jesus (iv. 14 to 
ix. 17), arranged somewhat differently from the ac- 
count in the second Gospel. After a short reference 
to the itinerant preaching (iv. 14, 15), there comes 
the scene of the preaching of Jesus at Nazareth (iv. 
16-30), which anticipates a story that Mark gives a 
little later. Luke has here made a displacement, for 
the episode at Nazareth supposes continuous and or- 
ganized activity of Jesus at Capernaum (iv. 23), as 
will be recorded in iv. 31. The displacement gives to 
the opening of the ministry of Jesus a dramatic char- 
acter, and illustrates two dominating ideas, the first 
being that the Gospel was the accomplishment of 
prophecy; the second that it was not welcomed. 

After the scene of Nazareth, Luke gives the nar- 
ratives about Jesus at Capernaum (iv. 3i-4 I )> the 
flight of Jesus to a desert place (iv. 42-43), the itin- 
erant preaching in Galilee (iv. 44) told more briefly 
than in Mark, certain elements of his account being 
taken from elsewhere and the healing of the lepers 
(v. 12-16). 

These incidents follow in the same order as in Mark, 


but before the last of the series Luke inserts the epi- 
sode of the miraculous draft of fishes (v. i-n), 
which replaces the more simple narrative of the voca- 
tion of the disciples found in Mark. The picture of the 
early activity of Jesus is followed, as in Mark, by a 
second section, wherein a series of conflicts already 
announces the failure of the preaching of Jesus (v. 
17 to vi. n). The third section (apostleship and 
healing, vi. 12-19) again reproduces the arrangement 
of Mark. In what follows there is found, on the con- 
trary, nothing which corresponds to the fourth section 
of Mark (accusation of madness and possession). 8 * 
On the other hand, Luke inserts here two sections 
which are peculiar to him; the fourth consists of a 
discourse on the plain (vi. 20-49), which is the equiv- 
alent, although in a less well-developed form, of the 
Sermon on the Mount given by Matthew. The fifth 
section consists of a series of passages lacking in Mark, 
and of which a portion only is found, again in Matthew 
(Luke vii. I to viii. 3). These portions are fairly dis- 
similar, and it is difficult to see why they were inserted 
at this place. It may be supposed that Luke, who 
seems to make it a point to interrupt as rarely as pos- 
sible the thread of Mark's narrative, has made use of 
what he had left out to place at the end of the dis- 
courses of Jesus a series of fresh narratives. 

The sixth section of Luke (viii. 4~ l8 ) corresponds 
to the section of parables in Mark, but with certain 
simplifications. In the seventh (viii. 19-56) and 
eighth sections (ix. 1-9) Luke only diverges from 

38 The episode of Beelzebub is found again in a more developed 
form, and does not seem to be from Mark. It it in a different 
context (xi. 14). The remark of Jesus about His real parents is 
given elsewhere (viii. 19-21). 


Mark upon secondary points. The ninth and last sec- 
tion of the first part shows, when compared with 
Mark's narrative, considerable simplification. It only 
contains the narrative of the return of the disciples and 
the first multiplication of loaves (ix. 10-17). In the 
second part of the Gospel, which opens with the Mes- 
sianic confession of Peter, Luke begins by following 
very closely Mark's narration as far as the episode of 
the miracles worked in the name of Jesus 80 (ix. 18- 
50). Then from ix. 50 as far as xviii. 14 he abandons 
'the narrative of Mark in order to record a whole series 
of episodes peculiar to himself, and which constitute 
a third part of his Gospel. Jesus appears in this to 
be constantly on the road ; and although the geographi- 
cal development is not distinctly marked, He appears 
to be going towards Jerusalem. Analysis shows that 
this account (which is frequently called, by the way by 
no means too correctly, the narrative of the journey or 
ministry in Perea) is not homogeneous. 87 Whether 
the subject under consideration be the questioners of 
Jesus, the circumstances supposed attending each epi- 
sode, or the transitions between them, one becomes con- 
vinced that the successive narrations forming this part 
of the Gospel have no real unity, but that they have 
been borrowed from various sources and grouped to- 
gether artificially. It appears as though Luke had 
interrupted the narrative of Mark at a point chosen in 

86 One single passage of Mark is not reproduced by Luke It is 
the conversation of Jesus with His disciples after descending the 
Mount of Transfiguration (Mark ix. 9-13). This passage may have 
been omitted because it discussed a question of Jewish dogma, which 
had no interest for readers of Luke. 

* T See on thii point Maurice Goguel, Introd, au N.T., u pp. 


an arbitrary manner in order to insert a series of 
passages which he did not wish to lose, but which he 
did not know where to place. In xviii. 15 he resumes 
the thread of Mark's narrative exactly at the point 
where he had left it, and the fourth part of his narra- 
tive (xviii. 15 to xix. 27) corresponds almost exactly 
with Mark to the end of the second part of the latter.** 
The account of the Jerusalem ministry, which forms 
the fifth part of the Gospel (xx. 28 to xxi. 38) is also 
fairly similar to that of Mark. Luke omits the curse 
upon the fig tree, and gives no division into days, stat- 
ing only at the end of his narrative that Jesus taught 
during the daytime in the Temple and at night he 
retired to the Mount of Olives. 80 

The sixth part, consisting of the account of the Pas- 
sion and resurrection (xxii. I to xxiv. 53), is in its 
general arrangement sufficiently close to the cor- 
responding part of Mark's narration, but from many 
points of view it presents a rather special physiognomy 
owing to the disposition or the form of certain of the 
more important narratives of which it consists. There 
is here presented a problem peculiar to the point of 
view of the sources which Luke has followed in his 
narrative of the Passion. The account of the resur- 
rection consists, after the discovery of the empty tomb, 
of the apparitions to the two disciples upon the road 
to Emmaus and to the apostles assembled at Jerusalem. 
This last account is followed by that of the Ascension 
(xxiv. 1-53). It should be noted that Luke knows 
only of Judaic apparitions. It follows from the pre- 

* Omission of Mark (x. 35~45) J addition of Luke (xix. 1-27)- 
*'Luke omits Mark xii. 28-34, of which he gives an equivalent in 
x. 25-28. He add* xix. 39-44* 


ceding analysis that the plan of Luke's work has no 
independent value of its own. It is a mere enlarge- 
ment of that of Mark. 

The fact that neither Matthew nor Luke have at- 
tempted to arrange their narrative of the life of Jesus 
otherwise than Mark had done, and that they confined 
themselves to retouching the arrangement adopted by 
their predecessor, where it was necessary to permit the 
introduction of new matter, is in itself significative. 
It proves that Matthew and Luke, who had at their 
disposal sources of information which Mark had not, 
found nothing therein which supplied them with in- 
formation concerning the arrangement and the order 
of the facts. This premier observation is already 
unfavorable to the hypothesis according to which the 
development of Mark's narrative corresponded to the 
real course of events. 

The problem, however, can only be solved by direct 
examination of Mark's plan. We shall confine our- 
selves here to some remarks which do not pretend to 
exhaust the problem of the life of Jesus, but which 
should at least serve to explain the character of Mark's 
plan. The first remark will bear on the notion of the 
Messianic secret. The episode of Caesarea Philippi 
(viii. 27-30), in which Peter recognizes Jesus as the 
Christ, and the story of the Transfiguration (ix. 2-8), 
which serves as celestial confirmation for him, form 
the pivot around which is articulated the entire con- 
struction of the Gospel. From this time onward the 
disciples being prepared to receive this quasi esoteric 
teaching, Jesus attempts to make them understand the 
necessity of the sufferings and death of the Messiah. 
Does this construction of Mark answer to the real 


development of the facts? There is reason to doubt 
it. There are found in the first part of the Gospel 
passages which clearly present Jesus, not, doubtless, 
as the Messiah in the traditional sense, but at least 
as One sent from God, as the Son of man that is, 
some one charged by God to accomplish the work of 
redemption. We shall not, to establish this, refer 
to the account of the baptism (i. 9-1 1 ) , where there is 
an express Messianic declaration, since it seems that 
originally it was related as a vision of Jesus and not a 
revelation accorded to the people or to the disci- 
ples. 40 

But it must be asked if episodes such as the calling 
of the disciples (i. 16-20), the institution of the 
apostleship (iii. 13-19) and the sending forth of the 
disciples on mission (vi. 6-13) do not assume that the 
narrator had the idea that He who acted with such 
authority must, to be thus obeyed, have revealed who 
He was to those whom He chose and sent forth ? Cer- 
tain narratives, such as the healing of the paralytic 
(ii. 1-12), with the declaration that the Son of man 
has the power on earth to forgive sins (ii. 10), would 
have no sense if Jesus had presented Himself only as a 
doctor or even as a prophet. The healings of the 
demoniacs, and the discussion about Beelzebub con- 
nected with them, are in this connection particularly 
characteristic. The expulsions of demons are not, in 
the evangelist's eyes (and they were not for Jesus) 
simple acts of power and mercy they were acts essen- 
tially Messianic. They assume, in fact, a victory gained 

40 It may nevertheless be asked if Mark has perfectly preserved 
the primitive character of the narrative and if he does not repre- 
sent the people as at Itast the witnesses of the vision of Jesus, 


over Satan, the prince of demons in other words, the 
realization in power of the very work which was ex- 
pected from the Messiah, or at least an anticipation of 
this victory. This is shown by the reply of Jesus when 
the Pharisees accuse him of casting out demons by the 
power of Beelzebub, the prince of demons (Mark 
iii. 22). Jesus replies first by reducing the argument 
to an absurdity. If Satan makes war upon himself, 
he will not be able to stand ; his kingdom will come to 
an end (iii. 23-26). Then He gives the explanation 
of these expulsions, and this He does in the parable 
of the strong man : "No one can enter into a strong 
man's house and spoil his goods except he will first 
bind the strong man" (iii. 27). The strong man here 
is Satan, the prince of demons. Jesus is unable to 
"spoil his goods" that is, snatch from him those 
whom he holds dominion over if He has not first of 
all conquered him. This victory gained over demons 
is essentially a Messianic act, and the assertion of 
Jesus has for the evangelist the quality of a Messianic 
declaration. This is shown by the text of Luke, which 
adds this declaration: "But if I, with the finger of 
God, cast out devils, no doubt the Kingdom of God is 
come upon you" (Luke xi. 20) , One other fact proves 
that the Messianic proclamation of Mark viii. 27 
could not possess the importance (if the data of Mark 
are adhered to) which the evangelist himself attributes 
to it, and marks the appearance in the Gospel tradi- 
tion of a new idea, and this is the recognition of Jesus 
as the Son of God by the demoniacs. 41 "The unclean 
spirits," Mark writes, "when they perceived Him, fell 

For the evangelist demons are supernatural beings, who see and 
understand things which escape the knowledge of mankind. 


at His feet and cried, Thou art the Son of God." 4 * 
Doubtless Mark adds that Jesus commanded them to 
hold their peace (iii. 12 and v. 7), but it is impossible 
that these declarations which the evangelist repre- 
sents as frequently occurring could have passed unper- 
ceived by the disciples, and that when hearing them 
they should not have understood or suspected that 
Jesus was the Messiah. Thus by the testimony of 
Mark himself the episode of Cassarea Philippi had not 
in reality the importance which the evangelist attributes 
to it. It is the pivot upon which the narrative is 
articulated, but not that of the Gospel history itself. 
In taking up another point of view, the same con- 
clusion is reached. "Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, 1 ' 
said Jesus to His disciples, "and the Son of man shall 
be delivered unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, 
and they shall condemn Him to death, and shall deliver 
Him to the Gentiles 1 ' (x. 33). It is in the interest 
of dogma that Jesus is shown leaving Galilee. "The 
Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected 
of the elders, and of the chief priests and scribes, and 
be killed, and after three days rise again. 11 The ar- 
rival of Jesus at Jerusalem is presented by Mark as a 
march to execution. It is the Messianic proclamation 
of Peter which sets in motion the drama. After Jesus 
has been rejected by the Galilean people, He reveals 
Himself to His disciples as the Messiah, and goes up 
to Jerusalem to die there, in accordance with the plan 
of redemption. Did Jesus really of His own free 
initiative (as Mark indicates) go up to Jerusalem, and 
go in order to die there? His departure from Galilee 
appears to have had other causes than those mentioned 

"Unclean spirits that is, those possessed. 


by Mark. At the close of the series of conflicts we 
read: "And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway 
took counsel with the Herodians against Him, how 
they might destroy Him" (iii. 6). In Mark this 
statement is isolated; it could not have been so in the 
primitive tradition from which he borrowed this fact. 
No mention could have been made of a plot formed 
against Jesus without having stated what resulted from 
it. The primitive tradition has not been preserved in 
its integrity because a dogmatic construction has been 
substituted for the account of the real development of 
the story of Jesus. Of this primitive tradition another 
fragment is perhaps preserved, in a form, by the way, 
modified. This is in the episode concerning Herod 
and his perplexity about Jesus (Mark vi. 14-16). In 
the way in which we read it, this account is outside the 
work; it plays no part in the development of facts. It 
is the debris of a tradition in which Herod had to play 
an active part in the story of Jesus. Wellhausen has 
ingeniously conjectured that in the place where we read 
in Luke ix. 9, "Herod sought to see Him," there was 
primitively the phrase, "Herod sought to put Him 
to death." Besides the passage in Mark (iii. 6), the 
warning given in viii. 15 ("Take heed, beware of the 
leaven of the Pharisees and of the leaven of Herod") 
is a trace of this hostility. 

There is found in a passage peculiar to the Gospel 
of Luke an extremely valuable indication with the same 
significance. At the close of Jesus' stay in Galilee 
certain Pharisees came and said to Him: "Get Thee 
out, and depart hence, for Herod will kill Thee" (Luke 
xiii. 31). This tradition must be historical, for it 
contradicts the general conception of the evangelists, 


which always represents the Pharisees as resolutely 
hostile to Jesus. Otherwise how can it be supposed 
that a human motive should have been subsequently 
substituted for a dogmatic motive for the departure of 
Jesus for Jerusalem ? 48 

Jesus did not come to Jerusalem only to die there. 
His stay appears to have had a longer duration than 
the Synoptics indicate, otherwise the passage such as 
that given by Matthew (xxiii. 37) and (Luke xiii. 34), 
preserved by them from the Logia, would not T>e com- 
prehensible : U O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest 
the prophets and stonest them which are sent unto thee, 
how often would I have gathered thy children to- 
gether, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her 
wings, and ye would not." 44 

It is not easy to understand also how within a few 
days of which the Synoptics speak, the drama of the 
Passion would have had the time to begin and develop. 
So far was Jesus from coming to Jerusalem to die 
there that He carefully organized His entry into the 
Holy City to impress the spectators, and by His action 
and His public teaching He did His best to rally the 
crowd to His cause. Doubtless He must have perceived 
how dangerous was the part which He played. If He 
failed, His death was certain, for His enemies would 

This is so true that in the reply of Jesus Luke has added a phrase 
(xiii. 3*, 33) which explains the departure of Jesus for Jerusalem 
by the necessity that the Messiah must not die anywhere other than 
in the Holy City. He has thus in his text a doublet which is not 
natural. There is, perhaps, also a souvenir of Herod's hostility 
against Jesus in the nonhistorical account of Luke xxiii 6-16. 

44 John presents Jesus as coming to Jerusalem at the time of the 
Feast of Tabernacles that it, the beginning of October. We hava 
attempted to show that the Johannine narrative rests here on a tradi- 
tion of great value (Introd. an N.T., ii, p. 411). 


not disarm. He did not retreat while there was yet 
time, but He accepted in advance the sacrifice which 
might be demanded from Him. 45 

Nevertheless, so little was His death a dogmatic 
necessity for Jesus that in the precaution He took of 
quitting Jerusalem every evening, He attempted to 
escape from His enemies and perhaps had it not been 
for the treachery of Judas He would have succeeded. 
The Gethsemane episode (Mark xiv. 32-42) is in this 
respect very characteristic. At the last moment, when 
Jesus sees the circle of His enemies closing in upon 
Him, He is appalled. The scene in its essential details 
is certainly historic; it is too much in contradiction with 
the idea of the Christ accepting with serenity, almost 
with impassivity, the necessity of His sufferings 4e to 
warrant the belief that it was created by tradition. 

At the time of the composition of the oldest of our 
Gospels a dogmatic system had already been substi- 
tuted for the historic treatment of events, and this had 
happened under conditions such that those who com- 
piled the Gospels found only fragmentary traditions 
before them. Nevertheless, it is seen that the story 
of Jesus had a quite different character at its origin. 
If, as the mythologists say, the Gospel tradition was 
only the projection upon the plane of history of a myth 
or of an ideal drama of redemption, the Gospel his- 
tory would be homogeneous. It would have been 
instantly manipulated according to dogmatic prin- 

By attaching to it a redeeming value, not in virtue of a dogmatic 
theory, but in the sentiment that if God allowed Him to perish it 
could only be because His death was necessary to the accomplish- 
ment of His work. 

6 such as is found, for instance, in the triple prophecy of suffer- 
ing and death. 


ciplcs; it would not be possible to find in it, as is the 
case in our actually existing Gospels, this lack of adap- 
tation which arises from the fact that the tradition was 
inadequate or difficult to fit into the frame into which 
it was desired to force it. The character of Mark's 
narration is only explicable if matter and frame have 
two different origins. The latter has been elaborated 
by dogmatic reflection ; the elements of the narrative 4T 
have not been created as a function of this frame, but 
borrowed from tradition to fill it. 


To confirm our conclusions it remains for us to ex- 
amine various theories by which it has sometimes been 
desired to explain in whole or in part the origin of the 
Gospel narratives. 48 

One observation concerning method must be laid 
down first of all. The Gospel history is not a homo- 
geneous block which suddenly appeared in the form we 
are familiar with. The observations which authorize 
us to establish the* coexistence of three parallel records 
prove that the tradition has evolved, and that indeed 
from the period which preceded the compiling of 
Mark's Gospel, doubtless since the primitive times of 
the life of the Church. Concerning this evolution, we 
can partly recognize and partly conjecture the causes, 
but it is illegitimate to think that the factors which 

47 In their totality, of course, and without prejudicing the solution 
of the critical problem which each one presents. 

48 w e do not revert here to the function of the prophetic exegesis 
which was dealt* with in the preceding chapter. 


determined the evolution of the Gospel tradition, its 
transformations and adaptations, were the same which 
gave birth to it. Transformation and creation are two 
very different things, and those factors which explain 
the first do not suffice to explain the second. This is 
easily perceived in examining some of the causes which 
have influenced the evolution of the tradition and by 
which certain persons have sometimes tried to explain 
its birth. 

I. Folklore 

In the Gospels there are elements analogous to cer- 
tain themes developed in the folklore of different 
races 49 which must have the same origin, but one can 
only explain by this fact certain details of secondary 
importance having no organic relationships with the 
essentials of the narratives, and which most frequently 
are only met with in the youngest forms of the tradi- 
tion. Conclusions which hold good for these details 
cannot properly be extended to the whole body of 
Gospel literature. Critics have long since observed 
that the darkness which covered the whole earth at 
the moment of the death of Jesus (Mark xv. 33 ; Luke 
xxiii. 44; Matt, xxvii. 45), the earthquakes and the 
resurrections spoken of by Matthew (xxvii. 52, 53), 
are occurrences which are met with outside the Gospels, 
in the most widely different circumstances; 50 but it 
would be no more legitimate to conclude from this fact 
that the death of Jesus is a myth than it would be to 
presume that Julius Caesar had never really existed 

49 P. Saintyves, Essais de folk-lore btbligue, Paris. 


because numerous writers have related that his death 
was accompanied by signs not less extraordinary. 51 
There are among various races legends analogous to 
the Gospel narratives of the walking upon the waters 
(Mark vi. 45-52; Matt. xiv. 22-23), or of the multi- 
plication of loaves (Mark vi. 31-43? Matt - xjv - I 3- 
21 ; Luke ix. 10-17; John vi. 1-13)) and the parallels 
established by M. Saintyves are as interesting as they 
are instructive. Their relations with the Gospel epi- 
sode are, however, less direct than those presented by 
certain Old Testament texts, and, above all, they only 
bear upon certain subordinate details. In the narra- 
tives of the multiplication of loaves the miracle is not 
the essential thing. The entire interest is concentrated 
on the meal of Jesus and His disciples, in which the 
crowd took part. As for the episode of the walking on 
the waters, nothing proves that it is (at any rate in 
the form in which we have it) a primary element of 
the tradition. Doubtless Mark and Matthew in relat- 
ing it considered they were narrating a miracle. The 
same maybe said of John. But when this last account 
(especially) is read, there remains an impression 
(which might at first have seemed to be extraordinary) 
that Jesus who had made the journey on foot, had 
reached the Capernaum shore of the lake before the 
disciples, who had crossed it in the boat. It is possible 
to conceive a quite natural explanation of this fact. 
The mythical and supernatural element appears to 
have intervened, not at the origin of the tradition, but 
in the course of its literary development. 82 What is 

"Such as Plutarch (C**ar), Virgil (Georges I), Ovid (Mtta* 
What it here said concerning the walking on the waters may be 


there surprising in the fact that the editors of the Gos- 
pels, who did not consider Jesus an ordinary man, 
should have attributed a supernatural power to Him, 
over the elements? 

The presence in the Gospel narratives of certain 
themes borrowed from myth or folklore is evidence 
of the already complex degree of evolution shown in 
the tradition as we have it, but it does not prove that 
the entire tradition had from its beginnings an exclu- 
sively mythical character. 

2. Inspiration and Visions 

M. Couchoud considers that one of the principal 
sources of the Gospel history is inspiration, and that in 
a double sense. In the first place the oracles of in- 
spired persons, considered as direct communications 
from Christ Himself, have been attributed to Jesus in 
a so-called historical ministry; then certain acts, par- 
ticularly certain cures, performed by the Christians 
and explained by the power of the Christ who guided 
them, came to be considered as having been accom- 
plished by Jesus Himself. Thus the cures wrought by 
Peter in the name of Christ, the teaching imparted by 
Him, the words pronounced in ecstasy by Stephen 
under the influence of the spiritual Christ, came to be 
considered as the acts and speeches of a Jesus whose 
biography was thus constituted by a transference from 
the history of the early Christians. 

repeated regarding the account of the stilling of the tempest, which 
appears to be only a variant of it (see Mark iv. 35-41 ; Matt Tiii. 
23-27; Luke viii. 22). 


The theory is ingenious; it may appear seductive, 
for many of the teachings of Jesus are portrayed as 
related, not to His time, but to the situation existing 
in the early Church when the Gospels were compiled. 
The fourth Gospel commits an evident anachronism in 
speaking of exclusion from the synagogue as a penalty 
with which those who in the lifetime of Jesus recog- 
nized His Messiahship were threatened (ix. 22, 
xii. 42), and the anachronism is none the less evident 
in the Synoptics, where Jesus is reputed to have spoken 
of the appearance of His disciples "before governors 
and kings" 53 (Matt. x. 18; Mark xiii. 9; Luke xxi. 
12). There has been no creation here, but merely the 
adaptation of the tradition to the needs of those for 
whom the Gospels were written. It is not surprising 
that the authors of popular books have not carefully 
distinguished between the teaching of Jesus and its 

We have shown, in the case of the apostle Paul 
(Chap. V), that in the primitive Church a very clear 
distinction was drawn between the word of the Lord 
and the revelations of inspired persons. In these con- 
ditions it is not conceivable that the two things could 
have been confounded. There is no reason to suppose 
that the distinction established in the primitive period, 
which was the greatest flowering time of spiritual gifts, 
became less clear later on, at a time when the intensity 
of the spiritual life became less vigorous. It is not 
possible to explain the origin of the Gospel narratives 
by visions, as M. Couchoud would like to do. The 
phrase, u For I have received of the Lord," which 

"The term used by the Gospeli may also be translated by 


Paul uses in I Cor. xi. 23, has not the meaning which 
he attributes to it, as we have seen, but it implies the 
existence and utilization of an earlier tradition. 

It is true at the beginning of the narrative a vision 
is found that accompanying the baptism of Jesus 
but it is expressly presented by Mark (i. 9-11) as a 
vision of Jesus ; and from the fact that Jesus, like Paul, 
might have had visions, 64 it by no means follows that 
He was never an historical personage. 

One other vision, the Transfiguration (Mark ix. 
2-8), plays a part in the second portion of the evan- 
gelist, but this in any case is only a subordinate one, 
the Transfiguration being only the celestial confirma- 
tion of Peter's confession. This it is which is the true 
pivot of the Gospel history, since it is immediately after 
Peter has declared to Jesus, "Thou art the Christ/ 1 
that the story takes a new orientation with the first 
announcement of the sufferings and death of the Mes- 
siah. The Transfiguration, in fact, is ill-placed in the 
story of Jesus. It must have been originally an account 
of the apparition of the Risen One, which has not been 
preserved in its primitive form because it implied a 
conception of the Messiahship which the faith of the 
Church had outgrown." 

5 Visions, however, occupy in the life of Jesus only a very small 
place Outside of the account of the Baptism and Transfiguration, 
where, in so far as one can judge of the first meaning of the 
narrative, it is a question of a vision of the disciples and not of 
Jesus, we only note one It is that referred to in the phrase, "I 
saw Satan falling from heaven as lightning" (Luke x. 18), and here 
again it must be asked if this is anything more than a figurative 

8 See our study. Notes d'histoire faangelique, ii (Esgutsse d'un* 
interpretation du recit dt la transfiguration). Revue d'hist. dei 
Religions, Ixxxi, 1920, pp. 145 ** "9* 


3. The Transference of Material Borrowed from the 
Apostolic History 

It is conceivable that the tradition of the words and 
sayings of Jesus may have been enriched by aphorisms 
or declarations which were not originally attributed 
to Him, 56 but we are unable to discover with certainty 
any fact of this kind in the Gospel tradition. 57 It 
would, moreover, only be a question of agglomera- 
tion and would presuppose the existence of the Gospel 

It is true that the case of the two sentences spoken 
by Stephen at the moment of martyrdom has been 
pointed out: u Lord Jesus, receive my spirit" and 
"Lord, lay not this sin to their charge" (Acts vii. 60). 
They have an evident affinity with those which Luke 
attributes to the dying Jesus : "Father, forgive them, 
for they know not what they do" (xxiii. 34), and 
"Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit" (xxiii. 
46). Certain writers have believed it possible to 
admit that between the two groups of sentences there 
is a relation of dependence, the book of Acts being the 
original member. It is true that M. Loisy leans, 
along with certain other critics, to the idea that this 
portion of the Acts is prior to the evangelists' ac- 
count ; but even if this were proved beyond all question, 
it would be inadmissible to draw conclusions of a too 

It it thus, for instance, that Acts (i. 15 and xi 6) put into the 
lipt of Jesus the announcement of the baptism by the Spirit which 
the Synoptics all give as a sentence of John the Baptist. 

" The Gospels attribute both to John the Baptist and to Jesus the 
speech about the tree and its fruits, but it is there doubtless an 
image which must be older than John the Baptist It is also possible 
that Jesus had adopted a theme of the teaching of John the Baptist 


sweeping and too rigorous character, since these two 
sayings of Jesus (the first of which is not to be found 
in the primitive text of Luke) are in any case subordi- 
nate elements foreign to the most ancient tradition of 
the Passion. The dependence of Luke upon the Acts 
is, besides, not absolutely certain. The Acts were 
written after the third Gospel by the same author or 
the same editor. In telling the story of Stephen's 
martyrdom he could, even if he knew and used a more 
ancient tradition, have introduced details which re- 
called the Passion of Jesus, thus obeying a motive 
which has inspired the attitude of martyrs and con- 
fessors and has had a powerful influence on the whole 
literature of hagiology. 

If from words we pass to narratives, the theory of 
the transference to the life of Jesus of that which 
originally belonged to the apostolic history is not more 
plausible. The fact relied upon here is the analogy 
(indeed sufficiently striking) which apparently exists 
between a series of narratives relating to Peter and a 
series of miracles attributed to Jesus. 

There are three passages specially which it is neces- 
sary to consider in this connection : 

I. That in the Acts (v. 15, 16) referring to the sick 
brought from all parts to Peter in order that he might 
cure them by his shadow passing over them. This 
passage presents certain analogies with Mark vi. 53 f 
56, in which it is related how, when Jesus returned to 
Gennesareth after the first multiplication of loaves, 
they brought to Him from the surrounding country all 
the sick to the places where He passed, and how those 
who only succeeded in touching the hem of His gar- 
ment were made whole. The analogy between the 


two accounts should not lead us to ignore and neglect 
the differences between them. The episode in the story 
of Jesus possesses an organic importance which it has 
not in that of Peter. It is found in the Gospel at a 
time when Jesus was continually on the road. On the 
contrary, Peter was at Jerusalem at the time referred 
to in the passage in the Acts. The extraordinary con- 
course of the sick and their eagerness are not justified 
as in the case of the Gospel narrative; there is, there- 
fore, a characteristic accentuation of the miraculous 
element in it. The same conclusion is forced on us if 
we note that the cures of Jesus took place by actual 
contact, while those of Peter required only the mere 
passage of his shadow. 

2. At Lydda Peter cured the impotent man, /Eneas, 
who for eight years had lain upon a pallet (Acts ix. 
32-35). This has been compared with the healing of 
the paralytic in Mark ii. 1-12. But two details essen- 
tial in Mark's narrative are lacking in the Acts. First 
of all the proof of an extraordinary faith given by the 
sick man and his bearers, who, in order to get at Jesus, 
remove a part of the roof of the house. Then follows 
the discussion upon the forgiveness of sins. The ac- 
count in Acts is thus a simplification of that in the 
Gospel; originality cannot be on its side. 

3. At Joppa a woman named Tabitha (in Greek, 
Dorcas, which means Gazelle), who did much good 
and was extremely charitable, had just died. Her 
body was laid in an upper room, and messengers were 
sent to seek Peter at Lydda. The latter having been 
conducted to the place where the corpse was lying, 
sent every one out of the room, and after offering a 
prayer, turned towards the corpse and said: "Tabitha, 


arise!' 1 The woman then opened her eyes and sat up. 
Peter took her by the hand and assisted her to rise. 
Calling the saints and the widows, he presented her to 
them alive (Acts ix. 36-43) . This narration has strik- 
ing analogies with the account of the raising of the 
daughter of Jairus in Mark. When Jesus, after His 
excursion to Gerasa, returned to the western shore of 
the lake, a ruler of the synagogue named Jairus came 
to Him, beseeching Him to come and lay His hands 
upon His daughter, then at the point of death. While 
Jesus is on His way, news is brought to Jairus that the 
child is dead. Jesus replied to Jairus : "Be not afraid, 
only believe." Arrived at the house, He found a 
crowd of people weeping and lamenting. He sent 
them all away, only keeping with Him the father and 
mother of the child and the three disciples He had 
brought with Him. He entered into the chamber of 
the dead, and taking the body by the hand pronounces 
the words in Aramaic, "Talitha Kumi," which, being 
interpreted, is : "Damsel, I say unto thee, arise." The 
child, who was twelve years old, arose. Jesus restores 
her to her parents, and commanded that something 
should be given her to eat. 

It is improbable that these two narratives at least 
in the form in which we are familiar with them arc 
quite independent of each other. But on which side 
is the priority? In the Gospel this story is combined 
very closely with that of the healing of the woman 
with the issue of blood (Mark v. 25, etc.), while in 
the Acts it is isolated. This already is favorable to 
the priority of the Gospel narrative. On the other 
hand, the story of the resurrection of Tabitha discloses 
the influence of two Old Testament narratives that 


of the resurrection of the Sarepta widow's son by 
Elijah (i Kings xvii) and that of the raising of the 
child of the Shunamite woman by Elisha (2 Kings 
iv. 33). It is therefore a more developed account than 
Mark's, where these influences are not revealed. The 
account in the Acts is also more marvelous, for it is 
a matter of the resurrection of a person dead already 
several days, while in the Gospel the child has just 
died, and certain details lead one to think that origi- 
nally it was a matter of healing and not of resurrection. 
The final touch in Mark's account belongs to a very 
primitive conception representing Jesus as exercising 
the medical activity of a rabbi. Between the name 
"Tabitha" 58 and the words u Talitha Kumi" the 
analogy is quite superficial. 59 If it were a real analogy, 
taken alone it would not enable us to say which is 
the original. Here, again, the account in Acts appears 
subordinate to that of the Gospel, which some have 
wished to derive from the former. 

The two accounts of the cure of the impotent man 
and the raising of Dorcas are connected in the Acts. 
Those of the Gospels to which they have been com- 
pared belong to two different cycles. And finally, the 
narratives concerning Peter in the book of Acts are 
among the least solid and the most recent portions of 
it. They have, in particular, a very close relationship 
with the story of Cornelius (Acts x. I to xi. 18), 
designed to attribute to Peter and not to Paul and the 
Church at Antioch the initiative of the preaching of 

w Which i* certified as a woman's name. See Preuschen, Dig 
Apoitclgeschichtt, Tubingen, 1912. 

It would completely disappear even if, with Wellhausen and 
Kloitermann, the reading "Rabitha Kumi" were admitted on the 
authority of certain Western witneiset (Dot EvangMum Marti). 


the Gospel to the pagans a narrative whose mislead- 
ing character is obvious, and admitted unanimously as 
such by the critics. 

4. The Liturgy 

There remains to examine one last factor through 
whose action it has been believed the formation of the 
Gospels could be explained. This is the liturgical 

M. Loisy thinks that because of their style a pro- 
phetico-liturgical character must be attributed to the 
Gospels, and he has pointed out that this fact would 
not be without very serious consequences. Discussions 
about the historical character of the Gospels would, 
in his opinion, lose a great part of their import if 
"these were handbooks relating to the cult of the Lord 
Christ, if the oracles of the Lord Jesus had been 
worded by the prophets of the first Christian age, if 
the account of the Passion was related to the ritual or 
rituals of the Christian Passover in early times." 80 
The idea that the Gospels are only liturgical hand- 
books cannot in any case be considered as established. 
In order to justify it, M. Loisy invokes the rhythm, 
but up to the present, notwithstanding various de- 
liberate attempts (often ingenious), it has been im- 
possible to discover the law of this rhythm. It is hardly 
to be disputed that there are in the New Testament, 
in the Epistles of Paul as well as in the Gospel, pas- 
sages where a certain periodicity is perceptible, and 
which may be considered as rhythmic. But so long as 
no one succeeds in defining with precision what consti- 

o Loisy, Revue crttigue, 1923, P- 4i. 


tutcs a line and a strophe, it will be impossible to con- 
sider the Gospels in their entirety and with even 
more reason the whole New Testament as written in 
rhythmic form more or less resembling the Sibylline 
Books. The rhythm discoverable in the Gospels most 
frequently does not surpass the characteristic forms of 
Oriental thought, with its predilection for parallelism 
and antithesis, for opposition, enumeration and grada- 
tion, which follow from the dialectical process which it 
habitually employs. There is nothing which justifies us 
in calling this a liturgical style properly so called. 

There is, besides, a very grave objection to the sug- 
gestion that the Gospels were compiled for public 
worship; it is that there is no trace in first-century 
Christianity of a liturgical use of the Gospels, 61 

The remark in Mark xiii. 14 and in Matt. xxiv. 15, 
"Let him that readeth understand," may refer to a 
public reading, 62 but it is found in the Synoptic 
Apocalypse, which seems originally to have had an in- 
dependent existence. 68 The sole texts we possess con- 
cerning the Christian cult of the first century, that of 

61 Neither is there any trace of a liturgical reading of the Epistles. 

62 It is not certain that this note is primitive. Luke (xxi. 20) has 
nothing equivalent to it. His text, nevertheless, in spite of the 
substitution of "Jerusalem besieged" for "abomination of desolation," 
is closely related to that of Mark and Matthew. The form of the 
phrase, "and when ye shall see ... then let them that are in Judea 
flee to the mountains," is the same. We have tried elsewhere to show 
that Luke's text is the oldest, and that it ha* been corrected in 
Matthew and Mark to dissociate the siege of Jerusalem from the 
events of the end. If this is so, the note may be considered as a 
hint to the reader, designed to emphasize the import of the new 
indication. (See Goguel, Introd. au. N.T., i, pp. 301 ** "00 

68 The Apocalypses seem to have been, from the beginning, designed 
for public reading, as is shown by the remark in Apoc. i. 3 : "Happy 
is he who reads and happy are those who barken to the works of 
prophecy and who keep what is there written." 


Chapters xii and xiv of the first Epistle to the Corin- 
thians and that of the Didache, 84 contain no allusion to 
the reading of the Holy Scriptures at public worship, 
not even the reading of the Old Testament. 65 The first 
certification of a cultural reading of the Gospels is 
met with in Justin Martyr (ApoL, i. 67). The read- 
ing of the Gospels was certainly not in his time a nov- 
elty. There is, however, nothing to authorize us to 
date this custom back to the first century. In the 
present state of research concerning the formation of 
the New Testament canon it seems to be established 
that public reading was one of the causes, not the con- 
sequences, of their canonization. That an organic 
relation exists between the Gospel narratives and the 
eucharistic ritual is evident, and in particular it is not 
doubtful that the divergence between the three Synop- 
tic accounts on one side and the Johannine account on 
the other, respecting the date of the death of Jesus, 
corresponds to a difference between the rituals of the 
Roman Church and those of Asia, but this relation is a 
complex one. If the rites influenced the narratives, 
these latter, especially at the period of origin, must 
also have influenced the rites. A perfectly liturgical 
explanation of the Gospel narratives which is related 
to the rites would only be possible if the Christian 
rites could be entirely reduced to those of an earlier 

Now this is a thesis which cannot be considered as 

64 It may even be said that the first portion of the Didache, 
which is a summary of the moral teaching of the Gospels for the use 
of catechumens, would not be comprehensible if the Gospels had been 
at the time this book was composed the object of a regular reading. 

5 There is no allusion made, either, in what Paul says of the 
Christian cult. 


established, especially in the case of the Eucharist. 
However important the contacts may be, especially in 
subordinate forms, which it shows with rites foreign to 
Christianity, there is in it something original which 
does not owe its existence to borrowing. As confirma- 
tion of this statement, the rite of baptism (which in 
itself seems to be the transformation and adaptation 
of a Jewish rite) is not connected by Christian tra- 
dition with an episode of the life of Jesus. (See 
UEucharistie des origines a Justin Martyr, Goguel.) 
The interpretation of the Gospel history as a liturgy 
is not to be set aside only because of its hypothetical 
character and because it is the explanation of some- 
thing partly obscure by something totally unknown, 
but still more because it clashes with this decisive ob- 
jection, namely that the influence of the cult on the 
tradition could only be exercised at a time when the tra- 
dition was already established at least in its essential 
details. 66 

M With even greater reason may we set aside without detailed dis- 
cussion the liturgical explanations of certain narratives proposed by 
M. Saintyves. For example, that of the multiplication of loaves "by 
a mystery cult analogous to that of Dionysius," which he supposes 
"existed in Judaism, or at any rate among the Syrians" (Estais) ; 
or, again, that of the walking on the waters "by a ceremony con- 
nected with a seasonal and initiation ritual which was both Jewish 
and Christian the ritual of the Passover/* 

If these are gratuitous hypotheses, what is to be thought of the 
explanation of the rending of the (Temple) veil by a rite thus 
described: "When the annual victim which the early Christians 
sacrificed died, or was on the point of death, in order to show 
clearly that this victim was fulfilling the part of the Eternal High 
Priest, perhaps the sanctuary veil was rent in pieces, and the por- 
tions were dispersed?" (E*sai$, p. 424). It is unnecessary to add 
that not one text and for good reason is cited to prove the 
existence of this rite. 




ONE of the chief objections which M. Couchoud raises 
against the historical character of Jesus is the diffi- 
culty he finds in understanding how, within the space 
of a single generation, the deification of a man could 
have taken place, and this upon the territory of Juda- 
ism. How did this deification take place, and how did 
men who had lived close to Jesus come to identify 
Him with a divine Being, if not (as M. Couchoud says 
in a phrase which somewhat exceeds the data of the 
texts) with Jehovah Himself, as least with His Son 
and Messiah? 1 

Primitive Christianity was not a school of phi- 
losophers, but a group of believers practicing a common 
worship of the Lord Jesus. He did not unite a body 
of men who admired the teaching of a Master and de- 
sired to take Him as a rule for their lives 2 ; He 
brought together worshipers. In the Christian field 
the word "disciples" possesses a sense quite different 
from that which it has in the expression "disciples of 

l Thc subordination of Christ to God is, in fact, very clearly 
affirmed by Paul (i Cor. xv. 27, 28). 

* Even considering thia teaching to have been directly revealed to 
him by God. 



Plato or Aristotle." It is the equivalent of the word 
"saints 11 that is, of consecrated ones which is the 
most usual name for the faithful. 

The Christians and not only thinkers like Paul or 
the author of the fourth Gospel, but also the humblest 
and least philosophical among them only considered 
the Gospel history as an episode in a cosmic drama of 
much vaster dimensions. How did they reach this point 
of view? That which convinced them that Jesus was 
more than a man was the conviction that He had risen 
from the dead. Paul expresses the feeling of all be- 
lievers when he said : "If Christ be not risen from the 
dead, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also 
vain" (i Cor. xv. 14). The belief in the resurrection 
is indeed the foundation upon which the whole struc- 
ture of primitive Christianity is built. The story of its 
birth is nothing more than the formation of the faith 
in the resurrection. 

In order that we may form an idea of the conditions 
in which this belief appeared, it is necessary, without 
neglecting the criticism of the narratives and traditions 
concerning the apparitions, first of all to examine this 
problem. In what manner did the early Christians pic- 
ture to themselves the life of the risen Christ? 

The principal problems which are presented by the 
resurrection narratives may be reduced to three: 

I. What is the relation between the discovery of the 
empty tomb and the apparitions? Upon which of 
these two facts or rather upon which of these two 
beliefs does the faith in the resurrection rest? Were 
there really at its origin two facts, real or supposed 
the empty tomb and the apparitions or has one been 
deduced from the other? And upon this hypothesis, 


was it believed that Jesus, having shown Himself to 
His disciples, His tomb must have been found empty? 
Or, on the contrary, was it the belief in the empty tomb 
which predisposed men's minds to believe in the resur- 
rection and fulfilled the psychological conditions which 
prepared and caused the visions? 

2. How was the tradition born which fixed the time 
of the resurrection on the morning of the third day? * 

3. How can the extreme diversity of the accounts 
of the apparitions be explained? The anxiety to make 
them concordant has cost the harmonizers many 
efforts, but the results obtained are not proportionate 
to the wealth of ingenuity expended. This diversity 
is much greater than is to be observed in any other part 
of the Gospel history. This fact is all the more strik- 
ing seeing the very great importance which the resur- 
rection story had for the early Christian faith. The 
diversity is particularly noticeable on one point: the 
place of the apparitions. Two forms of the tradition 
may be distinguished, one which localizes the appari- 
tions in Galilee, the other in Judea. 

Criticism has particularly emphasized the consider- 
able influence of apologetic interests on the narratives 
of the apparitions. The episode of the guard placed 
over the sepulcher (see Matt, xxvii and xxviii) is a 
characteristic example of a narrative imagined in 
good faith certainly to reply to a Jewish objection. 
The Jews explained the discovery of the empty tomb 
by a nocturnal visit of the disciples, who, according to 
them, had carried off the body of their Master. The 

Behind the present tradition there is perceptible one of older 
form which attributed to the body of Jesus a period in the tomb 
lasting three days and three nights (Matt. xii. 40). 


reply was that all necessary measures to prevent such 
a maneuver had been taken. 4 

But the apologetic factor does not explain the ex- 
treme diversity of the apparition narratives. One real- 
izes this in observing the complexity, improbability and 
arbitrary character of the criticisms by which M. Voel- 
ter, of Amsterdam, has attempted to reduce them to 
one common source, alleged to be a vision of Peter in 
his home in Galilee, followed by a collective vision of 
the apostles on the shores of the lake of Galilee. The 
theories elaborated to explain the empty tomb are 
scarcely more satisfactory. All of them employ a con- 
jectural factor, apparent death, or abduction of the 
corpse of Jesus, either by Jews, Romans, or even by 
disciples. Even if there were not so much of the purely 
arbitrary in these hypotheses, if all the objections ad- 
vanced were refuted, if the tomb had, indeed, been 
found empty, it would still be true that the fact would 
not have failed to play an important part in the genesis 
of faith in the resurrection, whereas we are expressly 
told by Mark that the women kept silence concerning 
the discovery they had made and the message they had 
received (Mark xvi. 8). The later accounts have at- 
tempted to diminish the strangeness of the simple 
juxtaposition of the discovery of the empty tomb and 
the apparitions without establishing organic relation- 
ship between them, but they have done so only in a 
timid and imperfect way which in no degree succeeds 
in welding the two things together/ 

* The accounts of Luke and John have an obviously apologetic 

'Matthew (xxviii. 9, to) mentions an apparition of Jesus to the 
women, immediately after the discovery of the empty tomb. Jesus 
renews the message already given by the angel. The disciples go 


Literary criticism alone does not permit us the choice 
of one out of two hypotheses which are equally possi- 
ble, and to decide if the accounts of the apparitions 
have been subsequently introduced to establish the 
reality of the resurrection and set aside the divergent 
explanations of the empty tomb, or if the discovery 
of the empty tomb has been deduced from visions and 
incorporated into the tradition to establish the reality 
of the apparitions. Various theories have been pro- 
posed to explain the genesis of the formula "the third 
day." Even if they were less hypothetical than they 
are, in the conditions of our documentation, they would 
only have a bearing on a subordinate point, and would 
leave the true problem existing in its entirety. 


The decisive fact in the genesis of Christianity was 
neither the discovery of the empty tomb nor the ap- 
pearances of Jesus to His disciples, but faith in the 

to Galilee to the meeting place Jesus had given them, and there He 
appears to them (verses 16-20). According to Luke (xxiv. 9-11) 
the women bring also the message of the angel to the disciples, but 
these latter do not believe them. However, Luke states that the 
disciples have been to the tomb and found it empty. This action is 
directly attributed to Peter (in Luke xxiv 8), but this verse, which 
is absent from manuscript D and in several forms of the old Latin 
version, is much suspected. It betrays the influence of Luke xxiv. 
a4, and must originate from John's narrative. In the fourth Gospel 
(xx. 1-18) Mary Magdalene, on her own initiative, goes to inform 
the disciples that she has found the tomb empty. Peter and the 
unnamed disciple run there at once, but it is only of the latter that 
it it aid that he believed. Jesus appears afterwards to Mary 
Magdalene, who is charged to carry to the disciples the news of 
His resurrection. She carries out this task, but it is not said how 
she is received* 


resurrection. From the religious point of view, it is not 
facts which have importance, but ideas and sentiments. 
It is to the study of the conception of the early Chris- 
tians of the risen Christ that it is necessary to address 
ourselves. We possess one precise and accurately dated 
document (it was written about 55 or 56), which 
shows us how the apostle Paul conceived the person 
and import of the risen Christ. This is the fifteenth 
chapter of the first Epistle to the Corinthians. The 
affirmation of the resurrection (verse 4) is confirmed 
by an account of the apparitions (verses 5-8). The 
thought in the text would be exactly rendered by the 
statement: "Christ is risen; the proof is that He ap- 
peared unto Cephas, then unto the Twelve," etc. The 
discovery of the empty tomb is not mentioned ; at the 
most it might be considered as understood between 
the interment and the resurrection, each formally at- 
tested both as facts and the fulfillment of prophecies. 
To conclude from the silence of the apostle that he was 
ignorant of the tradition about the empty tomb would 
be going too far. It is still none the less true that, for 
Paul, faith in the resurrection is linked with the appari- 
tions and not with an empty tomb, and this conclusion 
is not only true as regards Paul, but also for the whole 
Christian preaching of his time, for all that was trans- 
mitted in unanimity and taught equally by Judaic or 
Gentile Christians. 

In the course of the chapter Paul establishes a very 
close relation, intimate and organic, between the resur- 
rection of Christ and that of believers. He sees in the 
resurrection of Jesus the guarantee of that of the faith- 
ful. Christ inaugurates a series of resurrections; He 
is the first-born among the dead, the chief of the risen. 


We are, therefore, able to apply to Christ what is said 
concerning the resurrection in general. Christ is thus 
a spiritual being, which does not mean (given the He- 
braic anthropology to which Paul remains faithful) 
that He is "pure spirit," but only that He is endowed 
with a special organism, whose attributes are different, 
and in a certain degree opposed to those belonging to 
terrestrial organisms. Paul characterizes the ter- 
restrial or psychic body of which the earthly man con- 
sists by a series of terms such as corruptible, mortal, 
feeble, dishonor. This being is a living "psyche," con- 
stituted by flesh and blood. The body of the heavenly 
man, on the contrary, possesses immortality ; he is the 
"pneuma zoopoioun," and he is characterized by the 
terms "incorruptible," "glorious," "powerful." The 
prototypes of these two species of beings are the 
first man Adam and the second Adam, who is the 

The risen Christ, therefore, in Paul's view, possesses 
a body essentially different from that which He pos- 
sessed during His earthly life. It is formed of a 
superior substance, the spirit, and is no longer sub- 
jected to the contingencies and the necessities which 
affect humanity; it is no longer subjected (as we should 
say in modern terminology) to the laws of physics or 
physiology. This is perhaps confirmed by the fact that 
when Paul speaks of apparitions he uses the word 
u$0r), with a dative as though he would indicate that in 
these experiences the initiative belongs to the Christ: 
He shows Himself to the disciples rather than these 
see Him. However, the expression which Paul uses 
must not be pushed to the point of reducing the appari- 
tions in his thought to simple visions with no reality 


outside the consciousness of those who were favored 
with them. 

Thus in Paul's view and his ideas on this point do 
not appear to diverge from those of the rest of the 
Church of his time the risen Christ lives no longer an 
earthly life. He is not a human being who, after an 
interruption comparable to a more or less prolonged 
slumber, resumes his former life, as might be conceived 
to be the case for the daughter of Jairus, the young 
man of Nam, or Lazarus. The earthly life of Jesus 
was really ended on Calvary; something new began at 
the resurrection a celestial life, but in which Christ 
has still the power of intervening in the life of those 
who are His own and of influencing them. 

It does not appear that Paul assigns to the period 
during which the apparitions occurred a definite dura- 
tion. Those mentioned by him the last of which is 
that which he himself experienced upon the Damascus 
road cannot in any case by restricted to the short pe- 
riod of forty days spoken of in the Acts (i. 3). Fur- 
thermore, although concerning the apparition which he 
had seen, Paul says, "and last of all, He was seen by 
me also" ( i Cor* xv. 8 ) , there is no theoretical reason 
why the series of apparitions should be at an end. 
The Pauline conception of Christ glorified leaves no 
place for the Ascension. The vision of Peter or that 
of Paul on the Damascus road are not differentiated 
from the visions and revelations of the Lord referred 
to in 2 Cor. xii, or, rather, since the terms employed by 
Paul in i Cor. xv. 8 imply that the vision upon the road 
to Damascus closes the series of the first apparitions, 
the difference between them and those which occurred 
later can only consist in this, that the later ones arc not, 


like the first, the creative source of belief in the resur- 
rection and of the apostolic vocation. 

Thus, in Paul's view, He who showed Himself to 
the apostles was the Christ glorified, as He existed in 
heaven. There was a personal identity between this 
Being and the Jesus whose body was laid in the tomb, 
but this body had undergone the transformation 
through which all the bodies of the elect would pass 
at the second coming of the Lord ( I Cor. xv. 5 1 ) . In 
Paul's view the Lord's body did not remain in the 
tomb, but the fact that he does not consider it necessary 
to say so expressly is important and significative. An 
analogous conception, although of a more emphatically 
spiritualist nature, is met with in certain elements of 
the Johannine tradition. The activity of the Risen One 
upon the faithful is therein replaced to a certain extent 
by that of the Spirit. 6 

The substitution of the Spirit for the Christ is not, 
however, carried to its extreme consequence that is, 
the suppression of apparitions. The influence exerted 
by the current Gospel tradition was too strong to per- 
mit John's full obedience to the inner logic of his 
thought. 7 Several Gospel narratives contain details 
which directly recall the Pauline conception of Christ 

6 1* notion Johannique de VEtprit et tes antecedents historiquei, 

7 The original Johannine conception was perhaps more distinctly 
marked in an early form of the Gospel, where the narrative appears 
to end with the sentence of Jesus to Mary Magdalene: "Go to my 
brothers and tell them that I ascend to My Father and your Father, 
to my God and your God" (xx. 27). It is difficult, indeed, to con- 
ceive that such a message could have been originally followed by 
other apparitions of the risen Jesus. The narrative of the appari- 
tion to Mary Magdalene might thus be the remains of a tradition 
in which the Gospel history ended by the return of Christ in celestial 


glorified. For example, there is in Matthew the dec- 
laration of Jesus : u Lo ! I am with you always, even 
until the end of the world." He who thus speaks is 
not subject to the ordinary conditions of existence. In 
the episode of Emmaus (Luke xxiv. 13-32) there are 
three features, not marked, it is true, with equal dis- 
tinctness. First of all and this is only slightly indi- 
cated Jesus seems to appear in a somewhat mys- 
terious way at the side of the two disciples walking 
along the road. These and this is the second feature 
do not recognize Him at first. 8 The very appear- 
ance, therefore, of Jesus had changed. Finally, at the 
moment when Jesus had just made Himself recognized, 
He vanishes literally, He becomes invisible which 
seems to imply that the Risen One possessed the faculty 
of rendering Himself at will either visible or invisi- 
ble in any case to appear and to disappear 

In the account of the apparition at Jerusalem which 
Luke gives it is expressly stated the disciples thought 
they beheld a phantom (xxiv. 27). In the Johannine 
account Jesus said to Mary Magdalene, "Touch Me 
not" (xx. 17). In the present form of the narrative 
this seems to suppose that Jesus, having left the tomb, 
was obliged to undergo in heaven a kind of purification 
before being able to resume contact with His disciples. 
But it is possible that this detail signified originally 
that human hands must not touch the glorified body of 
the Risen One. In the Johannine account of the first 
appearance to the apostles, Jesus is found suddenly 

8 The same feature is found in the fourth Gospel, in the account 
of the apparition to Mary Magdalene (xx. 15) and in the scene on 
the shore of the lake (xxi. 4). 


in the midst of His followers, who had met together, 
with the doors shut, owing to the fear they had of the 
Jews (xx. 19). 


The Gospel narratives also contain an entirely dif- 
ferent concept, which may be designated by the term 
"revivification/' The idea seems to be that the life 
of Jesus is resumed after having been interrupted by 
the drama on Calvary. Thomas was invited to put his 
fingers upon the nail marks and his hand into the 
wound in Jesus' side (John xx. 27). Luke insists that 
the apostles are dealing, not with a phantom, but with 
a Being who can be felt and who eats 9 (Luke xxiv. 
39-42). In the account of the walk to Emmaus, and 
less distinctly in John xxi. 13, the disciples recognize 
their Master when He performs the familiar gesture 
of the breaking of bread. Finally, in Acts i. 3 it is 
stated that Jesus, during the forty days which preceded 

&The idea that a phantom cannot cat, and that an apparition 
which is taken for a spirit offers a decisive proof of his corporeal 
reality by sitting down to a repast, appears to be widely disseminated 
in folklore It serves as the theme of a popular song, composed 
at the prisoners' camp at Holzmmden by a soldier, native of Mayenne 
(France) It refers to a prisoner whose death certificate had reached 
his family and who, having returned from captivity in Germany, 
is taken for a spirit up to the moment he sits down to his meal at 
table before them Having announced his continued existence, the 
refrain runs: 

"In order to reassure you 
I'm going to eat and drink." 

Note. The author states that since his book was published in 
France it has been proved that the song referred to in the note was 
composed before the late War. Translator. 


His ascension, gave many proofs to His disciples of 
His resurrection. These proofs, concerning whose na- 
ture the text gives us no information, ought probably 
to be conceived as confirmations of the reality of the 
life He had resumed. 

That which has been said suffices, without it being 
necessary to have recourse to more recent and extra- 
canonical narratives, to distinguish in the tradition two 
concepts of the resurrection. According to one, which 
is comparable to that of Paul, the Risen One is no 
longer subject to the ordinary conditions of human 
existence. He is a celestial being who sometimes shows 
Himself on earth. According to the other, the risen 
Christ resumes His terrestrial existence at the very 
point where death had interrupted it. He possesses a 
body which may be felt ; He eats ; He still bears the 
marks of the nails in His hands and the spear thrust 
in His side; His wounds are not even cicatrized. 


The Gospel traditions combine these two concepts. 
The theory of apparitions during forty days is an at- 
tempt to harmonize them. They are, however, entirely 
different, and in reality irreconcilable. They corre- 
spond to two different phases of the development of 
Christian thought. Which is the most primitive? 
Which had the first Christians in mind when they af- 
firmed "J esus is risen"? What were the causes which 
brought about the progress from one concept to the 

There is already a presumption favorable to the 
priority of the concept of the resurrection as glorifica- 


tion in the fact that it appears in the first Epistle to 
the Corinthians, while the other concept of revivifica- 
tion is only found in writings which, in the form known 
to us, are distinctly younger. 

Another consideration has more weight still. The 
spiritual concept is found in Paul's writings in all its 
purity, without admixture with any other heteroge- 
neous element. On the other hand, there is no narra- 
tive, whether canonical or extracanonical, in which the 
concept of revivification is not alloyed with some detail 
borrowed from the idea of glorification. It would, 
doubtless, be hazardous to affirm that there has never 
existed a narrative conceived uniquely from the point 
of view of revivification. The existence of such a rec- 
ord appears, nevertheless, very doubtful. It would 
have suited later controversies and apologetic needs so 
admirably that it is not easy to understand how it 
could have disappeared. The combination of the fea- 
tures which belong respectively to the two different 
concepts is explicable in two ways. Either the two con- 
cepts existed at first as independent and parallel, and it 
was only afterwards that an attempt was made to com- 
bine them; or, on the contrary, primarily there was 
one simple homogeneous concept to which there were 
added subsequently certain divergent details which, 
however, did not possess sufficient plausibility to elimi- 
nate others, which logically should not have been ca- 
pable of association with them. In the case before us 
the first explanation has little probability. The Concept 
of revivification in itself never appears to have inspired 
any narrative. The reasons which have caused more 
and more importance to be attached to the bodily mani- 
festations of the Risen One also enable us to under- 


stand the evolution of the resurrection tradition 
without being obliged to ascribe to it a double point of 
departure. 10 

Again, it is possible to urge, in support of the prior- 
ity of the spiritualist conception, the fact that all the 
features which imply the concept of revivification ap- 
pear to be inspired by apologetic necessities. They are 
so many direct replies to objections urged against the 
belief in the resurrection. It would be, on the contrary, 
very difficult to suppose, in face of the need to refute 
the criticisms of opponents, that apologists should have 
made their task more difficult by sublimating and spirit- 
ualizing the belief in the resurrection. 

The resurrection was, therefore, first of all con- 
ceived as the accession of Christ to a higher life. The 
concept of the resurrection as a mere suppression of 
death and a restoration to the former life of Christ is 
a secondary one, born out of the necessities of apolo- 

This conclusion throws light on the primitive char- 
acter of the belief in the resurrection. The progress 
in the history of the tradition has been, if one may so 
express it, from inside to outside. It has had a ten- 
dency, if not to materialize, at least to render faith 
in the resurrection more concrete. The evolution has 
been quite spontaneous, without there having existed 
any plan concerted by any one whatsoever. It is a case 
in which we may call to mind Pascal's saying: "I only 

10 In the narrativc8 containing details implying the concept of re- 
vivification it ia easy to convince oneself that these details are not 
in harmony with other elements in it Thus in John xx 26-29 the 
exhibition of wouads, implying "corporal ity" of the Risen One, does 
not harmonize easily with the fact that Jesus passes easily into the 
room when the doors were shut. 


believe the narratives whose witnesses would suffer 

One is forced to believe at least in the good faith 
of these witnesses, for a belief founded on dishonest 
machinations would not have resisted persecution. 

In the resurrection faith there are two elements. 
The first is a conviction of a religious nature: Jesus 
lives; He cannot be (like other men) vanquished, a 
prisoner of death. He has escaped the power of death; 
it is He, in a word, who is the victor. Alongside of this 
there is a conviction of a material historical fact : Jesus 
has quitted the tomb ; He has been seen by so-and-so. 
What relation is there between these two convictions? 
Did the apostles believe that Jesus was living because 
they found His tomb empty and He appeared to them? 
Or, on the contrary, did they see Him, and were they 
persuaded that His tomb must have been found empty 
because they had the conviction that He was living? 

The Gospel narratives, as we read them, express the 
first of these conceptions. They show us men pro- 
foundly discouraged so little prepared to believe in 
the resurrection of their Master (which, nevertheless, 
had been announced to them) that they treated the 
first news of it brought to them as "idle tales" (Luke 
xxiv. 1 1 ) ; and when Jesus showed Himself to them 
they had need to feel Him and to watch Him eat in 
order to convince themselves they were not in presence 
of a phantom. In spite of this, Matthew relates that 
some of them doubted. In the Pauline faith, on the 
contrary, the fundamental element is the affirmation of 
the resurrection; no allusion is made to the empty 
tomb, and the apparitions are only mentioned as con- 
firmatory evidence. If this is not the most ancient con- 


cept, the evolution of the resurrection faith must have 
proceeded in a very strange way. Material at the be- 
ginning, in the sense that it was founded upon material 
facts or on facts held to be such (empty tomb and ap- 
paritions), it would have become spiritualized in order 
later to become material in nature once more. The 
faith in the resurrection was in its origin an affirmation 
and a conviction of a religious nature, and it was not an 
experimental observation. This explains the fertility 
it has shown in the development of Christianity. The 
fourth evangelist had an exact appreciation of its true 
nature when he put into the mouth of Jesus the declara- 
tion made to Thomas: "Blessed are they who have 
not seen and yet have believed." n 


M. Couchoud considers that belief in the resurrec- 
tion arose in a quite spontaneous way, without ante- 
cedents directly recognizable, and that the apparitions 
were only the manifestation of an ideal Messiah whose 
mythical history included a crucifixion espisode. This 
theory seems to be liable to several decisive objections. 
The Gospel history is not, as we have seen, the simple 
transformation of a myth. On the other hand, the be- 
lief in the resurrection was in the whole of primitive 
Christianity intimately associated with the thought of 
the Lord's death. Under these conditions, how could 
the resurrection have been for Peter and his first com- 
panions, at the primitive period, the object of a direct 
religious experience, while the belief in the death and 

"Compare with Luke xvi. 31: "Neither will they be persuaded 
though one rose from the dead." 


sufferings of the Messiah was borrowed from an an- 
cient myth? It is inconceivable that a myth could have 
included the idea of the sufferings and death of the 
Messiah without also including the idea of His 
triumph. The myths of Attis or of Osiris, which the 
mythologists readily cite as parallels to the history of 
the Christian Messiah, are on this point characteristic. 
Death and resurrection of the divine hero in them are 
on the same plane. Could it be otherwise in Chris- 
tianity? The belief in the resurrection in the latter 
stands in organic relationship with an experience of 
primitive believers, which imposes the following di- 
lemma : either the Gospel drama that is, the idea of 
the sufferings and death of the Messiah and that of 
the resurrection Is only the transformation of an old 
myth or it was the object of direct knowledge. It is 
not, however, impossible that a reminiscence of the 
myth concerning the death and resurrection of the god 
may have prepared the minds of men to conceive the 
idea of the resurrection of the Messiah, Jesus, but the 
affirmation of this resurrection, far from having been 
deduced from the single fact of the death, represents 
in relation to it something original and new. 

This is confirmed by a study of the conditions in 
which the belief in the resurrection arose, which did not 
happen with a group of enthusiastic disciples, but 
among men profoundly discouraged. 

The personality, activity and teaching of Jesus had 
produced a deep impression on the little circle of dis- 
ciples formed around Him. Without having translated 
their sentiments into precise theological propositions, 
they had closely associated the personality of their 
Master with the ideal of the Kingdom of God which 


they had conceived under His influence. Jesus was in 
their eyes He who was intended to fulfill the divine 
work, the Son of man destined by God to realize His 
plan, to destroy the power of the devil and to establish 
the divine dominion over the world. The Messianic 
consciousness of Jesus 12 imposed itself on them ; if it 
had been otherwise it would be incomprehensible that 
belief in Jesus could have survived the drama of the 

Even if it be admitted, as it certainly seems neces- 
sary to do, that Jesus had foreseen the eventuality of 
defeat, and had attempted to prepare His disciples for 
it, it remains none the less true that the apostles were 
surprised and disconcerted by the arrest of their Mas- 
ter. Their confusion was complete; they dispersed. 
This point is beyond doubt ; the Gospel tradition which 
tends, nevertheless, to glorify the apostles, has pre- 
served a very distinct memory of their flight. It makes 

12 We cannot discuss the problem of the Messianic affirmations 
of Jesus in the Gospels, nor the various hypotheses proposed to 
explain them. We think that Jesus really considered Himself as the 
Son of God, and that if the Messianic conceptions of the primitive 
Christians may have influenced the manner in which the declarations 
of Jesus are related in the Gospels, and given them more precision, 
they do not explain them In support of our opinion we shall only cite 
one decisive fact that is, the reply of Jesus to the high priest. 
When asked if He was the Christ, the Son of the Blessed, Jesui 
replies: "I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the 
right hand of power and coming on the clouds of heaven" (Mark 
xiv. 62). If this declaration is a product of Christian faith, the 
fundamental idea of primitive Christianity it found therein that of 
resurrection on the third day. Matthew (xxvi. 64), in introducing 
the sentence "Henceforward shall ye see. . . ." tends to substitute 
the idea of glorification for that of return, but he does so only in an 
imperfect way, since he preserves the idea of return upon the 
clouds of heaven. Luke goes farther still, and suppresses the idea 
of return in giving to the declaration of Jesus this form: "Hence- 
forward shall the Son of man be seated at the right hand of the power 
of God" (Luke xxii. 69). 


an attempt, if not to excuse, at least to explain it, by 
showing in it the realization of a prophecy (see Mark 
xiv. 27 and Matt. xxvi. 31, quoting Zech. xiii. 7). 1S 
This attempt at an excuse has the value of a very pre- 
cise confirmation of the fact. 

Even Peter, who seems to have had more assurance 
and boldness than his companions, and who had pro- 
tested that, whatever might happen, he would never 
forsake his Master, according to the fourth Gospel 14 
only made the beginning of an act of resistance, and 
this could not have been very serious, since it did not 
involve any grave consequences 15 for him. He only 
accompanied the guard who led away his Master, from 
a distance (Mark xiv. 54), and he did not even find 
the courage to admit in the presence of the servants 
the attachment he had had for Him. 

The abandonment of Jesus by His disciples can be 
interpreted in two ways. The fact of Jesus falling into 
the hands of the soldiers without any supernatural in- 
tervention taking place on His behalf may have killed 
the disciples' faith and persuaded them that they had 
deceived themselves in believing they found the 
Messiah in Him. The disciples of Jesus would thus 
have been in the same case as the partisans of innu- 
merable Messianic pretenders of the type of Theudas, 
Judas the Galilean (Acts v. 36, 37), and, later on, 
Bar-Kochba. Their faith and their attachment to Him 

18 The fourth Gospel (xviii 8, 9) puts into the mouth of Jesus a 
sentence which justifies the dispersion of the disciples. 

14 The Synoptics also relate the incident, but they do not name 

15 The behavior of Peter was in any case more circumspect than 
that of the young man who wished to follow Jesus and whom the 
soldiers tried to arrest (Mark xiv. 51, 5) 


would not have resisted the defeat of their hero. Their 
Messianic faith would have suffered complete collapse, 
so far at least as this faith was centered in Jesus. 

The alternative interpretation is that the crisis was 
less profound. The disciples' faith did not collapse; 
it was only shaken. It was primarily the courage to 
proclaim it which they lacked. There was in them 
weakness of character, discouragement, eclipse, if you 
wish, but there was no total bankruptcy of the Mes- 
sianic faith in Jesus. 

It is not easy to decide between these two hypoth- 
eses, partly, no doubt, because the memory of the 
apostles and tradition did not willingly dwell on this 
troubled and dark period when their faith had at least 
vacillated. Certain observations impel us, however, 
to incline toward the second of the two interpretations 
just mentioned. There is, in the first place, a reason 
which we shall call one of psychological economy. The 
later evolution of the apostles is easier to understand 
under the hypothesis of momentary or temporary 
weakness than under that of a total collapse of their 
Messianic faith. If this latter really took place, it 
would be necessary to admit that the disciples had re- 
mained completely impervious to what certainly seems 
to have been the dominating note in the thought of 
Jesus in the last days of His ministry, and particularly 
on the last evening the thought of His death and 

Certain significant facts favor the hypothesis of a 
temporary weakness. It is sufficient to mention them. 
The first is that Peter, in short, had only denied Jesus 
because he desired to follow Him from a distance, 
it is true. He was not, therefore, completely indiffer- 


ent to the fate of Jesus. 16 The denial itself is a formal 
disavowal which still demands consideration to see how 
far it was sincere and how far it was dictated by fear. 
But Peter only refused to admit that he knew Jesus ; 
he did not declare He was an impostor. His behavior 
was not that of a man who had lost all belief in Jesus ; 
it was that of a man who had not the courage to de- 
clare his faith. The ancient Church did not consider 
the behavior of Peter as the equivalent of a renuncia- 
tion of his apostleship ; it has preserved no memory of 
a new reinstatement which in such a case would have 
been necessary, and whose record would have been in* 
dissolubly linked to that of the forfeiture. The inci- 
dent in John xxi. 15-19, habitually spoken of as the 
"rehabilitation of Peter," has a quite different signifi- 
cance. Peter, notwithstanding his denial, plays a part 
of the first importance in the resurrection narratives, 
and in the incident which has been taken for his 
restoration there is found no allusion which implies a 
denial and its consequent disqualification. (See Introd. 
au N.T., ii. p. 3 2 > M - Goguel.) 

Where did the apostles go in their perplexity? Did 
they remain in Jerusalem hiding themselves more or 
less carefully, or did they quit Judea to take refuge in 
Galilee? The tradition represented by Luke and John 
(under its first form that is before the addition of 
Chap, xxi) supports the first hypothesis. According to 
the beginning of the book of Acts (i. 4) it was by ex- 
plicit command of Jesus that His disciples waited at 
Jerusalem for the inspiration of the Spirit. It was 

According to the oldest tradition, it was not before the Sunday 
morning that the disciples quitted Jerusalem; they desired, therefore, 
to know the issue of events in the drama. 


therefore at Jerusalem where the decisive evolution 
to which the Church owed her existence took place. 
Events are not presented in the same way in the other 
accounts. According to Mark (xvi, 17) the disciples 
were still at Jerusalem, since the women received from 
the angel the commission to tell them that they had 
found the tomb empty and that they must repair to 
Galilee, where they will see Jesus. Owing to fear the 
women keep silence. The account stops at this point. 
It must originally have related the apparition of Jesus 
in Galilee, announced in xvi. 7. But was it in conse- 
quence of the women's message or on their own initia- 
tive that the disciples quitted Jerusalem? The first 
hypothesis must be put aside owing to the last phase 
of the Gospel. If the narrator had intended to relate 
why, after the event, it came about that the women de- 
cided to speak, would he not have linked up this new 
account by saying, for instance: u At first they said 
nothing to anyone" ? The primitive Gospel of Mark 
could not have related that the disciples quitted Jeru- 
salem to go to meet their risen Master at the place 
assigned by the angel. It was not with even a flickering 
hope in their hearts, it was in despair, that they re- 
turned to Galilee. They must have quitted Jerusalem 
as soon as the tragedy of Calvary had been consum- 
mated, leaving only the Sabbath to pass, during which 
they could not set out on their journey. 

It is thus that the Gospel of Peter presents the 
events : 

The women who discovered the empty tomb and 
received the testimony of the angel fled terrified, and 
although it is not explicitly stated, they said nothing. 
It was with tears and distress that on the morning of 


the third day the disciples set out on the road for 
Galilee, That which the Gospel of Peter contains 
more than this namely the story of the resurrection 
properly so called is from another origin, and has 
not been intercalated in a satisfactory manner in the 
narrative of the discovery of the empty tomb and the 
return to Galilee. Neither the women nor the disciples 
could have ignored such a sensational event as the exit 
of Jesus from the tomb, as it is related in the Gospel 
of Peter. 

The account of Matthew reproduces that of Mark 
with some variations. In the first place Jesus appears 
to the women (xxviii. 9, 10). These latter deliver the 
message confided to them (verse 8), and it is after 
having received it that the disciples go to Galilee, to 
the mountain which Jesus had given them as the meet- 
ing place (xxviii. 16). The return of the disciples 
to Galilee has, therefore, a character other than in 
Mark. It was, if not with a sense of certainty, at 
least in the hope of the resurrection, that they left 

The priority of Mark's narrative compared with 
that of Matthew is beyond question. The apparition 
of Jesus to the women is under suspicion; Mark would 
not have suppressed it if he had found it in the source 
of his work. It makes a useless repetition of the ap- 
parition of the angeL The mission confided by Jesus 
to the women adds nothing to those they had already 

Moreover, in stating that the disciples went to 
Galilee to the meeting place named by the angel, the 
narrative of Matthew establishes a close relationship 
between the empty tomb and the apparition; it thus 


does away with one of the strangest features of 
Mark's account the simple juxtaposition of these two 
facts. It is natural for the tradition to have linked 
them to each other. It would be more difficult to un- 
derstand if it had dissociated them. 

The tendency to connect organically the account of 
the discovery of the empty tomb with that of the first 
apparition is still more distinct in Luke, and partic- 
ularly in John. In Luke's work the angel's message is 
so transposed that he no longer speaks of a rendezvous 
in Galilee, but of a rendezvous that Jesus had given 
while he was in Galilee (xxiv. 6). The message is 
delivered to the disciples, but they are not convinced 
(xxiv. n). It is not even said that they went to the 
tomb. 17 In the narrative of the meeting upon the road 
to Emmaus matters are somewhat more definite. The 
disciples certainly had been to the sepulcher, but they 
had seen no angel (xxiv. 22-24). The message of the 
women had at least disconcerted them. They could not 
fully believe in what had been told them, but they 
took the trouble to make some inquiry. When the 
disciples returned to Jerusalem from Emmaus, they are 
greeted with the cry, "The Lord is risen indeed" 
(xxiv. 34), which implies that the question of the 
resurrection had been at any rate raised by the dis- 
covery of the empty tomb. The reasons why Mat- 
thew's version must be considered as of secondary 
value compared with Mark's maintain all their force 
for that of Luke. In xxiv. 1 1 : "Their words seemed 
to them as idle tales, and they believed them not." 
Here a trace of the primitive conception, which estab- 

1T At least, in the version which there is reason to consider the 
primitive one 


lished no relation between the empty tomb and the 
apparitions, very clearly persists. 

In John's narrative (xx. 1-18) the relation between 
the empty tomb and the apparitions is closer still. 
Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene, and two disciples 
come to the tomb to investigate the women's asser- 
tion. One of them "sees and believes." The synthesis 
is thus perfectly realized. It is upon the empty tomb 
that the belief in the resurrection rests. Such is the 
case, at least, for the one whom the evangelist pre- 
sents as a noble soul as the very ideal of a disciple. 
Mary Magdalene and Peter are not convinced in the 
same way; for them apparitions are necessary. They 
served as confirmation for those who were not directly 
convinced of the existence of Christ. Their function 
is thus essential; although subordinate to that of the 
empty tomb, it is perfectly coordinated with it. 

The comparison of the accounts of the resurrection 
therefore prove that in the most ancient tradition 
which we can find the empty tomb and the apparitions 
were merely juxtaposed. This condition of things, to 
some degree inorganic, could not be long maintained. 
An obligation was necessarily felt to seek to express 
in the narratives the relation that could not fail to be 
perceived between the two facts. Thus two secondary 
forms of the tradition came to birth. In the older of 
the two the character of the return of the disciples into 
Galilee is transformed: it is to go to meet Jesus that 
they quitted Jerusalem. But, at length, this could not 
suffice; it was necessary to go farther and associate 
the empty tomb with the apparitions, not only in the 
thought of the disciples, but also in time and space. 
With this object the apparitions were transferred to 


Jerusalem, where the disciples still remained at the 
time of the discovery of the empty tomb. 18 

Various objections have been raised to the thesis 
of the priority of the Galilean tradition. They rest in 
general upon the a priori dogma more or less un- 
conscious that there cannot be any contradiction be- 
tween the various accounts of the resurrection, and 
that it is only necessary to find some means to recon- 
cile them. Certain critics have imagined in the en- 
virons of Jerusalem, on the Mount of Olives, a place 
named "Galilee," 19 but this place obviously has only 
been imagined for the needs of the case. Others, 
again, following the example already given by the 
author of the unauthentic ending of Mark and by the 
editor who added Chapter xxi to the fourth Gospel, 
have combined the two traditions by positing a series 
of Judaic apparitions followed by a series of Galilean 
apparitions. They misunderstand the fact that in the 
primitive tradition the Galilean apparition was quite 
distinctly a first apparition of the risen Jesus. 

Johannes Weiss has offered an original theory which 
seeks to explain the origin of the Galilean tradition 
through a misunderstanding. It rests entirely on the 
words of Jesus related in Mark xiv. 28 : "After that I 
am risen, I will go before you into Galilee" words to 
which reference was made in the message of the angel 
(Mark xvi. 7). According to Johannes Weiss, Jesus 

lfi Accessorily the evolution of the narratives in this sense has been 
facilitated, and perhaps partly determined, by the always increasing 
importance of the Jerusalem Church and also by the need to affirm 
that the apparitions did not take place in a far-off province, and 
thus escape more or less the possibility of verification. 

* 9 Rud. Hofmann, Galilaea atif dem Oelbera; A. Resch, Das 
GalUaea lei Jerusalem; Der Auferstandcne Galilaea bet Jerusalem. 


had announced to His disciples that after His resur- 
rection He would lead them into Galilee, walking at 
their head. If this theory had any basis, the problem 
of the resurrection would be much simplified. The 
Church would be the direct continuation of the com- 
munion which during the lifetime of Jesus existed be- 
tween Him and His disciples. The ingenuity of the 
system which suppresses rather than solves a whole 
series of problems demands a very serious examina- 
tion. The Jerusalemite tradition of Luke arises from 
downright juggling with the phrase in Mark on which 
the Galilean tradition rests. 20 In the way it is under- 
stood by Johannes Weiss, the phrase concerning the re- 
turn into Galilee is the sole surviving element of a 
tradition according to which Jesus had resumed, or 
considered it necessary to resume, after His resurrec- 
tion the life which He had formerly led with His 
disciples. How could Jesus have entertained such a 
thought when (His declaration before the Sanhedrin 
proves it) He expected to return upon the clouds of 
heaven? On the contrary, is it to be supposed (ad- 
mitting the otherwise weak and improbable hypothesis 
of an apparent death) that Jesus, after the drama of 
Calvary, may still have lived for a certain time with 
His disciples? How is it that this period of His life 
could pass and leave no other souvenir except one sen- 
tence, very soon misunderstood? How is it that tradi- 
tion had never made use of it as the argument best 
adapted to refute those who denied the resurrection? 

20 Matthew (xxviii 7) slightly transposes the last part of the 
phrase, which consequently becomes in his version superfluous, and 
can only be explained as a survival of the version in Mark, whose 
priority is thus confirmed. 


And finally, how could a tradition arise which, in op- 
position to the most obvious interests of apologetics, 
reduced the manifestations of the risen Christ to a few 
brief apparitions? It is still possible to suppose that 
the sentence about Jesus leading His disciples into 
Galilee originally related to the period which must 
follow the success He hoped to obtain in Judea and at 
Jerusalem. It is easy to understand that, the hope of 
Jesus having been deceived, tradition may not have 
preserved the memory of it; but how does it happen 
that a fragment of it has survived, and why should 
one single phrase, misunderstood by Mark, suffice to 
give birth to the Galilean tradition and suppress in 
his version the souvenir of the primitive Judean 

It is objected against the priority of the Galilean 
tradition that we know nothing about a Christian com- 
munity in Galilee whose existence was the direct con- 
sequence of apparition in that region. Tradition has 
not preserved the souvenir of the disciples' return to 
Jerusalem either. The chances as to the preservation of 
documents may explain the first point. We should 
know nothing about the existence in the early years 
following the death of Jesus of a Christian commu- 
nity at Damascus were it not mentioned in the narra- 
tive of the conversion of Saul of Tarsus. The same 
explanation holds for the second point. Moreover, it 
is comprehensible that the souvenir of the Galilean 
tradition may have been obliterated when the Judean 
tradition had become so preponderant that it was 
possible to speak of an order given by Jesus to His 
disciples not to leave Jerusalem, but to await there 
the effusion of the Spirit (Acts i. 4). 




The religious thought of the early Christians had 
two foci : the belief in the resurrection and the Mes- 
sianic belief. Between these two there is an organic 
relationship. What was precisely the function of each, 
and what was their relationship? The Messianic be- 
lief of the first disciples was earlier than their belief 
in the resurrection. The first named was born of the 
impression which Jesus made on them, and was not 
entirely destroyed by the drama of the Passion. If the 
failure of Jesus had been also a complete negation of 
the confidence the disciples had placed in Him, it would 
not have caused a complete collapse of their abstract 
faith in a Messiah, but it would have radically de- 
stroyed the faith they had placed in Him. 

Certain passages, however, might at first sight in- 
duce one to consider the belief in the resurrection as 
the origin of belief in the Messiah. Such is particu- 
larly the case as regards a passage of Peter's address 
at the feast of Pentecost (Acts ii. 36), where a con- 
ception is found of such an archaic and pre-Pauline 
character that there can be no hesitation in recogniz- 
ing in it the echo of a fairly primitive notion. Accord- 
ing to this passage, God "has made Lord and Christ" 
(that is, the Messiah) the selfsame Jesus who had 
been crucified by the Jews. 21 But it is not asserted that 
Jesus was not the Messiah before His resurrection; it 
is, on the contrary, presumed that He was the one 

21 This text ought to be compared with that in Rom i. 4, but in 
Paul's work it is rather a question of the manifestation of Jesus as 


whom God destined to fulfill the Messianic mission, but 
who, during His earthly ministry, was not invested 
with the attributes of power and glory. The dignity of 
the Messiah has now been conferred on Him in all its 
fullness ; Jesus is now the Lord that is, the Messiah 
transcendent who will return at the end of time to com- 
plete the discomfiture of the enemies of God, assuring 
at the same time the salvation of the faithful and the 
establishment and triumph of the Kingdom of God. 
"It is from heaven," writes Paul, "that we await the 
Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ" (Phil. iii. 20) ; and if 
the continuation of this declaration, with the idea of 
the similitude of the body of the believer to the glo- 
rious body of the Lord, expresses an idea essentially 
Pauline, the commencing phrase contains the faith 
common to all Christians. The resurrection was, in the 
first place, a sentimental satisfaction for the disciples, 
at once a consolation and a reparation of the indignity 
offered to Jesus by His ignominious condemnation. 
By its means Jesus was rehabilitated, and the faith 
of the disciples, shaken by the drama of the Passion, 
was restored. But this was not all. The resurrection 
placed the Messianic faith on a new plane. From the 
first manifestations of the life of the Church it as- 
sumed a character and outlook different from those 
she had nourished until then. It was no longer an inner 
conviction, having the character of a secret of which 
even among the initiated one could only speak with 
prudence, and which remained surrounded by a certain 
mystery. It became a certainty openly proclaimed be- 
fore the world, forming the very essence of Christian 
preaching. There was in this something more than a 
change of tactics or the abandonment of precautions 


henceforward superfluous. The Messianic creed had 
been exalted; it had passed from the imminent to the 
transcendental plane. However paradoxical it may ap- 
pear at first sight, the Christ preached in the primitive 
Church was not rigorously identical with the Jesus in 
whom the disciples trusted when He accompanied them 
on the roads of Galilee or in the streets of Jerusalem. 
Doubtless He was indeed the same person, but He had 
now received from God the full Messiahship which 
formerly had been only promised Him. 

The resurrection in itself alone cannot have given 
this new character to the faith of the disciples. The 
first Christians believed that Jesus had restored sev- 
eral persons to life, but this did not imply in any way 
their exaltation. They were considered only as hav- 
ing resumed for a time their preceding life, not as hav- 
ing radically triumphed over death. The resurrection 
of all these persons has only importance for the evan- 
gelists as an activity of Jesus whose power they thus 
revealed as stronger than death. The belief in the 
resurrection of Jesus had in primitive Christianity 
other consequences. The Risen One, to those who had 
received the revelation of His return to life, was no 
ordinary man, but already the Messiah. The resurrec- 
tion belief was the exaltation of their Messianic con- 
viction; it afforded a striking confirmation. 

The Socialist writer, Maurenbrecher, introduces here 
a racial consideration. He speaks of the faculty ac- 
quired by the Jewish race, in the course of the tragic 
vicissitudes of its history, to surmount all catas- 
trophes and to extract from all disillusions sources of 
new hopes and new illusions. This interpretation de- 
mands reservations of some importance. That which 


in primitive Christianity survived the drama of Cal- 
vary was not alone the Messianic faith in general, but 
also the personal character which this faith had as- 
sumed. It did not attach itself to another Messiah, but 
continued to see the Messiah and Savior in the crucified 
of Golgotha. This is not explained by a racial dis- 
position, but presumes a profound attachment to the 
person of Jesus the Messiah. The first Christians did 
not make of Jesus the Messiah transcendent because 
He rose from the dead, but it is because His departure 
from earth and return to heaven had made of Him the 
Messiah that they believed in His resurrection and, 
in a new sense, in His Messiahship. This is the con- 
viction which explains the apparitions. The disciples 
saw Jesus because for them He was living. This prop- 
osition is truer than that suggested by the Gospel 
narratives that is, that the disciples believed in Jesus 
as living because He had appeared to them. 

The Messianic faith of the disciples is older than the 
belief in the resurrection. It is this faith which was the 
source of the belief. It is because they believed Jesus 
to be the Messiah and no ordinary man that they be- 
lieved in His resurrection. 22 As M. Loisy judiciously 
observes, the disciples of John the Baptist, who never 
held a similar opinion about their Master, never be- 
lieved in His resurrection. 28 It would be possible, it 
is true, to object, as does Maurenbrecher, 24 that this 
explanation of the origin of the resurrection belief 
does not hold for the case of those who (like James, 
possibly, and in any case Peter) did not see in Jesus 

Meyer, Vnprung und Anf. f ii. p. 453, and iii, pp. 316-19, 
* 8 Loisy, Lfs Myitlres patent ft le myttire Chritwn, p. 215. 
a* Maurenbrecher, Von Nazareth nach Golgotha, p. 16*. 


the Messiah before acquiring the certainty of His 
resurrection. This is evident, but the causes of the 
first appearance of the resurrection faith are not neces- 
sarily identical with those explaining the conquests it 
made afterwards. It is very certain that the existence 
of a group of men who believed in the risen Jesus was, 
if not the unique factor, at least an essential one in 
the conversion to the Christian faith of those who, 
like Paul, had never felt the influence of Jesus during 
His ministry. 


We are now able to imagine the conditions in which 
the apparitions occurred, on which is based the apolo- 
getic literature of the first century and by means of 
which the resurrection faith was vindicated. 

They were in the first place independent of the 
discovery of the empty tomb, since, as we have seen, 
the most ancient tradition assumes that the disciples 
had no knowledge of this fact before experience of 
the apparitions, and because the comparison of nar- 
rative proves that in the sequel the narrators must 
have been forced to subject the tradition to a complete 
process of retouching in the attempt to coordinate and 
fuse together the narratives of the empty tomb and 
the apparitions. Moreover, in this task they never 
completely succeeded. 

It was in Galilee that the disciples had their first 
visions. They had not returned there expecting them, 
but they had returned in a period of discouragement. 

The time of the first apparition cannot be fixed with 
precision. The existing accounts, which place the 


resurrection on the morning of the third day, represent 
a second phase of the tradition. The primitive 
formula was not "the third day," but "after three 
days"; this probably originally meant after a short 
interval, whose duration was not fixed with precision. 
It certainly seems from Paul's testimony that it was 
Peter who had the first vision, which must have been 
rapidly followed by others, several of which doubtless 
were collective visions. 

It is possible that certain among them had repasts 
as their occasions, and may have happened at the 
moment of the breaking of bread. The evocation of 
the last repast of Jesus and the memory of the words 
He then spoke, affirming at one and the same time His 
sacrifice for His friends and the promise of a future 
reunion, must have played an important part in the 
genesis of apparitions, the intense feeling of a spiritual 
presence being easily transformed into the sense of a 
real presence. 

At first there must have been some indifference as 
regards the details of the apparition narratives, so ex- 
clusively were minds dominated by the sentiment of the 
presence and the life of the Christ. It is this which 
explains that the narratives, at an early date, took 
forms of sufficiently varied character, and ended in 
the extreme diversity which we observe between the 
accounts known to us, both canonical and extra- 

Lastly, it is certain that the resurrection must very 
soon have become a subject of bitter controversy 
between Jews and Christians, and the necessity of re- 
plying to the varied objections advanced against the 
Christian faith greatly influenced the narratives and 


led to the creation of entire groups of traditions such 
as that of the empty tomb. 

The conclusions to which we are thus brought in 
studying the origins of the resurrection faith have for 
the problem before us an importance whose meaning 
it is superfluous to insist upon. The genesis of the 
resurrection faith not only presumes the historic tradi- 
tion about the death of Jesus, but it appears to us as 
the continuation of the activity exercised by Him dur- 
ing His lifetime. The resurrection faith is thus the 
link which unites the story of Jesus with that of Chris- 
tianity, making the second the consequence of the first. 
We do not, therefore, find at the birth of Chris- 
tianity this naive euhemerism which M. Couch oud re- 
proaches historians, from Renan to Loisy, as having 
so easily accepted, but we find something quite differ- 
ent. The early Christians did not deify a man whose 
teaching and authority impressed them, and the wor- 
ship of the Lord Jesus has no resemblance at all to 
that of the emperors. It is because they had found 
in Him during His ministry the one destined to accom- 
plish the divine work. It is because, under the influ- 
ence of the belief in His resurrection (a direct 
consequence of the impression He had made on them), 
the disciples of Jesus, in the exaltation of their faith, 
saw in Him no ordinary man, but directly identified 
Him with the celestial Messiah. Henceforth the story 
of the earthly life of Jesus was for them only an 
episode of a great redemptive drama, and it was in 
the light of their conception of this drama that they 
devoted themselves to present and interpret the facts 
of the life of Jesus and the circumstances of His 


JESUS did not create the Church; He did not trouble 
about establishing institutions or laying down rules 
to assure, after His death, the continued existence of 
the group which had formed around Him and to direct 
its life. His mind was too much dominated by the 
idea of the immediate end of the existing economy to 
permit Him to trouble about the future of His friends 
on earth and to dream of organizing it. Jesus was 
not, therefore, in the usual meaning of the word, the 
founder of a religion; He desired only to announce 
and fulfill by His advent the accomplishing of the 
promises made by God to Israel. His Gospel im- 
plies no rupture with the religious tradition of His 
people. If He combated the abuses which the Scribes 
and Pharisees had introduced, He intended to remain 
faithful to the inspiration of the Law and Prophets. 
Christianity, on the contrary, was a new religion, 
and it was so from the day after the death of Jesus, 
long before the time when the hostility of the Jews, 
on one side, and the necessity of freedom to welcome 
the pagans on the other, had forced believers to 
organize themselves in a society independent of the 
synagogue. The Christians did not only preach, as 
Jesus had done, the nearness of the Kingdom of God, 
but before all else the doctrine of salvation by the 
death and resurrection of Jesus a death and resur- 
rection which have precisely the effect of introducing 



the Kingdom of God. 1 The Christianity of the primi- 
tive Church was neither a form of Judaism 2 nor the 
transformation of a pagan mystery, and this is true 
notwithstanding all the elements which it has in 
common with these two religious species. It was a 
new religion. If in the course of events Christianity 
absorbed elements foreign to the thought of Jesus and 
to Judaism, it was, nevertheless, born out of the 
preaching of Jesus and the impression He had made 
upon the few men who had grouped themselves around 

Christianity is not the religion of Jesus; it is that 
of the worshipers of Jesus. It was the personality 
of the Master which linked together the Gospel 
preached in Galilee and the religion of the primitive 
Church, and which explains the organic unity of the 
entire movement initiated by Jesus. 

Not only did the thought of Jesus exercise on the 
Church (especially in the moral sphere) a decisive in- 
fluence as the source of her inspiration, but still more 
was it the impression left by the personality of Jesus 
which gave the impulse through whose activity the 
whole system of Christian thought was developed. 
Between the preaching of the Kingdom of God by 
Jesus and the doctrine of salvation elaborated and de- 
veloped in the Church there is more than a simple 
coincidence in time; there is an organic relationship. 
It is through the impression produced by Jesus that the 

1 Loisy, Les Mysterff patens et If mystlrt Chrtticn, p. 210. 

2 It is true that the rupture between Christianity and Judaism was 
not brought about at once, but it was nevertheless fatal from the 
start that is, from the moment the Christians invoked the name of 
one who had been disavowed and rejected by the authorized leadcti 
of Judaism. 


Church professed her doctrine of redemption. If this 
doctrine has some kinship with the Mystery Religions, 
it is differentiated from them and cannot be reduced to 
them. While the worshipers of Mithra, Attis and 
Adonis knew perfectly well that the redemptive story 
of their heroes plunged into such fabulous antiquity 
that all reality was lost to it, the Christians were per- 
suaded that it was' not at the beginning but at the end 
of the age that their Christ had lived. His life, for 
them, could be fitted in a very intimate manner into 
the reality of history. 

If Christianity is a mystery, it is one of a very 
special type which contrasts with others even more 
than it resembles them. As M. Loisy, who has 
strongly insisted upon the originality of Christianity in 
comparison with the contemporary religions, has very 
well observed: "It may be said, if you wish, that 
Christianity is a mystery, but it must be quite under- 
stood that this mystery is unique of its kind, and that 
it does not enter into the same category and is not of 
the same type as the pagan mysteries, to which, never- 
theless, it is compared and from which it has in some 
way issued." 

If there is in early Christianity any speculation 
assimilated from preexisting Jewish and even pagan 
elements, it is upon the basis of an historical tradition 
about the life and death of Jesus that this speculation 
has developed. The historical reality of the per- 
sonality of Jesus alone enables us to understand the 
birth and development of Christianity, which other- 
wise would remain an enigma, and in the proper sense 
of the word, a miracle. 


Acta Apostolorum Apocrypha, 


Acta Petri cum Simone, 224 
Acta Pilatt, 45-50 
Alfanc, 24, 69, 193 
Annales (Tacitus), 40 
Anonymous writer on Luther, 


Antiquities (Josephus), 33, 36 
Appolinarius, 60 
Ascension of Isaiah, no, 114 

Babut, 39 
Bahrdt, 4 
Baldensperger, 73, 80, 158, 

178, 179 
Bardenhewer, 46 

Batiffol, 30, 34, 35, 40, 4*> 43, 


Bauer, Bruno, 10 
Bauer, W, 78, 79, 87 
Baur, R, 9 
Bayle, I 
Berendts, 35 
Bertram, 14 

Bible du Centenaire, 219, 222 
Bole, 31 
Bolingbroke, 5 
Bolland, 16 

Bousset, 19, 61, 126, 158 
Bratke, 30 
Bruckner, 158 
Brune, 30 

Bultmann, 166, 208 
Burkitt, 29, 31 

Calmes, 233 

Case, 19 

Celsus (Origen), 78 

Cheyne, 53 

"Chrestianoi," 44 

"Chrestianos," 44 

Colani, 12 

Corssen, 30, 37, 40, 41 

Couchoud, v, 20-28, 39, 103, 
106-109, 118, 119, 182, 192, 
199, 219, 226, 267, 279, 294 

Couissin, 90 

Cyril (Alexandria), 78 

Dalman and Streeter, 38 
De Bella Judaico, 35, 37, 42 
De Faye, 78, 83, 85 
Deissmann, 52, 93 
Deists, the, 2 
Didache, the, 277 
Dieterich, 53 
Docetism, 20, 82, et seq. 
Dom Leclercq, 223 
Drews, 18, 51, 93, xoi, 126, 182 
Dunkmann, 19 
Dupuis, 7 


Ebionites, 6p 
Edschmiadzin, 248 

3 i8 INDEX 

Enoch (Apoc.), nj> "9 
Epiphanius, 46, 58, 60 
Erbt, 16 

IV. Esdras, 115, 15* 
Eusebius, 30, 32, 48, 241 

Fabia, 49 
Picker, 224 
Pillion, 19 
Fuhrmann, 16 
Fulda, 218 

Gardner, Percy, 126 

Godet, 232 

Goethals, 30 

Goetz, 30, 42 

Gogud, M., 29, 39, 47, 73, 87, 
88, 93, 95, "1, 126, 129, 137, 
204, 223, 227, 229, 235, 237, 
246, 255, 262, 269, 276, 278, 
287, 299 

Guignebert, 2, 8, 19, 28, 39 

Harnack, 29-42, 45, 83, 84 
Haupt, 126 
Herder, 4 
Herford, 38 
Heulhard, 20 
Hilgenfdd, 58 
Hippolytus, 57, 60, 241 
Hochart, 40, 43 
Hofraann, 304 
Holbach, 6 
Holtzmann, 9, 55> 8 7 

Ignatius, 80, 87, 
Irenaeus, 84, 241, 242 

Jacoby, 30 
Jensen, 17 
Jerome, 86 
Josephus, 29-38, 53 
Julian (Apostate), 78 
Julicher, 19 

Justin Martyr, 44, 46* 78, 83, 
in, 172, 220 

Kalthoff, 16 
Kattenbusch, 176 
Kegd, JO 
Keim, n 

Klostermann, 105, 274 
Kneller, 31 

Laible, 38 

Laqueur, 30 

Lessing, 2 

Levi, Israd, 196 

Levy (on Strauss), 8 

Lietzmann, 127 

Linck, 30, 34, 39, 43 

Lipman, 19 

Lipsius, 46 

Lobstem, 121 

Logia (Q), 9 

Loisy, 14, 86, 90, 126, 195, 220, 

232, 275, 310, 315 
Lucian, 78, 79 
Luke (chap, xxiii, 34), 207 

Magic papyrus (Bib. Nat., 

Paris), 52 

Mandaean (Apoc.), 76-77 
Manicheans (sect), 85 
Marcion, 83, et seq. 
Massebieau, 186 



Matthes, 15 

Maurenbrcchcr, 309, 310 
Messianic pretenders, 297 
Meyer, A., 38 
Meyer, Ed, 30, 37, 4*, 43, 53, 

63, 65, 69, tf, 7 31 
Mirabeau, 6 

Naber, 15 

Naasseni, 58 
Naasseni hymn, 58 
Napoleon I, 7 
Naumann, 19 
"Nazarene," 54-fo 
Nicodemus (Gospel), 46 
Nicolardot, 55, 200 
Niemojewski, 16 
Niese, 31 
Norden, 30, 42 
"NSR," 54 

Origen, 34, 35, 49, 7, 83, i 


Osiander (on Josephus), 30 
Ovid, Metamorphoses, 266 

Papias, 241 
Paulus, 4 
Pernot, 82 
Pfleiderer, 96, 126 
Philo, 38, 118, 219 
Photius, 37, 85 
Pierson, 15 
"Pistis Sophia," 57 
Pliny, 39 

Plutarch (Co*ar), 266 
Polycarpe, 87 
Preuschen, 44, 275 

Reimarus, 2, 12 
Reinach, Salomon, 20, 31, 39, 
40, 49, 80, 87, 89, 90, 199, 219 
Reinach, Theodore, 33 
Reitzenstein, S3, 58, 73, 75 
Renan, n, 96 
Resch, 123, 304 
Reuss, 9 

Reville, Albert, 9 
Reville, Jean, 87, 232 
Ritschl, 12 

Robertson, J, M., 16, 51, 52 
Rouffiac, 234 

Sabatier, 96 

Sadler, 17 

Saintyves, 265, 278 

Schelling, 199 

Schmidtke, 60 

Schiirer, 29, 31, 34, 158, 201 

Schweitzer, 2, 4, 9, n, 13, 17, 


Seitz, 30 
Seydel, vi 
Smith, W. B , 17, 30, 66, 57-63, 

66, 69, 73, 182 
Spitte, 185, 186 
Stahl, 20, 24-25, 192-195 
Strack, 38, 61 
Strauss, 8, 9, 10, n 
Stuelken, 47 
Suetonius, 37, 43 

Tacitus, 37, 40, 41, 42, 43 
Tertullian, 44, 46, 84, in 
Tixeront, 59 

Valla, Laurentius, I 

Van den Berg van Eysinga, 15 


Van Loon, 15 

Venturini, 4 

Virgil (Georgics), 266 

Volney, 7 

Voltaire, 5, 6 

Volz, 201 

Von Schubert, 48 

Von Schultze, 223 

Von Soden, 19, 176, 182 

Weinel, 19, 115 
Weiss, B., 9 

Weisse, Johannes, 9, 13, 19* 
38, 52, 59; 96, 101, 105, 304 


Wellhausen, 28, 53, 56, 74, 

105, 192-196, 274 
Wetter, 56 
Wernle, 166 
Whale, Mrs. G., 21 
Wilke, 9 
Windisch, 182 
Wrede, 13, 105 
Wunsche, 206 

Zahn, Th., 105, 185, 232, 242 
Zimmern, 17 




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